Shahid Afridi stated on a Pakistani news channel that despite Azam Khan’s strong performances and powerful hitting, his lack of fitness should prevent him from being selected for the Pakistan team.

Shahid Afridi has expressed his reservations about Azam Khan’s fitness level, stating that he would not include him in the Pakistan team based on his perceived fitness standards. Pakistan is currently in England for a T20I series preceding the 2024 men’s T20 World Cup.

Despite Azam Khan’s selection for the World Cup following a decent PSL 2024 performance where he scored 226 runs at a striking rate of 171.21, his T20I track record has been lackluster. In 12 T20Is and 11 batting innings, Azam has only managed 88 runs at an average of 11 and a strike rate of 146, with a top score of 30. Concerns regarding his fitness have also resurfaced.

When speaking on a Pakistani news channel, Afridi emphasized the importance of fitness in cricket, highlighting how it influences player performance and demeanor on the field. The former cricketer also indicated his reluctance to include Azam Khan in the team due to fitness concerns.

“Fitness is the main thing. If you are fit, your body language gives it away on the ground, be it while batting, bowling, or fielding. You can’t compromise on fitness,’ Afridi said.

“I would never let Azam Khan get anywhere near the team as far as fitness is concerned. I praise him too, he’s strong and well built, he hits well. He has played good knocks in the West Indies,’ he added.

READ ALSO | Shahid Afridi Confident in Pakistan’s Final Berth, Predicts Semi-Finalists for T20 World Cup 2024

Afridi also raised concerns about Babar Azam’s wicket-keeping challenges in the West Indies. He pointed out that the ball carries well behind the stumps in England, but in the West Indies, it tends to keep low, making it difficult for wicket-keepers.

 “In England, the ball carries behind the stumps (while keeping). But when they’ll go to the West Indies, the ball won’t carry as much there, it will keep low. I hope he doesn’t struggle, but I am worried about his keeping against spinners in West Indian conditions with this fitness, because the ball stays low there and you have to keep your body low as well,” the former leg-spinner said.

“As a senior, my wish is to support every player as the team is going for the World Cup. After the World Cup we can discuss and criticise. But for now, I only want to support the boys and want to make sure that they don’t get any such message where they feel, ‘We are going for the World Cup and this is what Shahid bhai is talking about,” he concluded.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2024

Senior Sports Copywriter