Asia Cup 2023: Shaheen Shah Afridi Injured In Opening Match, Will He Play Against India? Check The Latest Report

The Asia Cup 2023 has resulted in a resounding victory by the host nation, Pakistan, as they secured a massive 238-run win over Nepal in Multan. The cheers of cricket enthusiasts reverberated across the stadium as Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed both notched impressive centuries, setting the stage for what promises to be an electrifying tournament. However, amidst the celebration, concerns arose about the fitness of Pakistan’s pace spearhead, Shaheen Shah Afridi, raising questions about their upcoming showdown with their arch-rivals, India.

The Multan crowd was treated to a dazzling display of cricket as Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed delivered standout performances with their centuries. Babar’s masterful knock of skill and precision, accompanied by Iftikhar’s power hitting, ignited the spirits of Pakistan cricket fans. The duo’s exceptional partnership contributed to Pakistan’s formidable total and showcased their versatility and ability to dominate the game.

While the victory brought jubilation, the sight of Shaheen Shah Afridi leaving the field in the 10th of Nepal’s innings cast a shadow over the celebrations. Afridi, who had made a remarkable comeback from a major knee injury, raised concerns as he walked off the field with the team’s doctor and physiotherapist. The apprehensions over Afridi’s fitness loomed large, particularly in anticipation of the high-stakes match against India.

Former Pakistan pacer and captain Waqar Younis added to the apprehensions about Afridi’s fitness. His concerns escalated when he noticed not just the team’s physiotherapist but also the doctor attending to Afridi. Waqar’s words echoed the worries of fans and cricket pundits, highlighting the significance of Afridi’s presence in the team’s lineup.

Former Pakistan pacer and captain Waqar Younis was also concerned about Afridi’s fitness. “I don’t mind physio around a fast bowler at third man or fine leg. But when the doctor comes, it gets a little worrying. Shaheen has both of them around him,” said Waqar Younis on air on Wednesday.

There was a sigh of relief for Pakistan supporters as Afridi returned to the field during the latter half of Nepal’s innings. Afridi’s contribution was noteworthy, as he claimed 2 wickets for 27 runs in his 5-over spell. However, all-rounder Shadab Khan truly shone, putting up an exceptional bowling performance by securing 4 wickets for 27 runs. Nepal’s batting lineup struggled to match Pakistan’s intensity, resulting in 104 runs as they chased the daunting target of 343.

As the players basked in the glory of their triumph, Shadab Khan’s post-match words reflected the unity and confidence within the Pakistani cricket team. Khan acknowledged the collective effort of the pacers, including Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf, for setting up the platform. He expressed optimism and excitement about the upcoming challenges, including the much-anticipated clash against India at the Pallekelle International Stadium in Kandy.

“It was hot out there, but Sri Lanka was hot as well, but Sri Lanka was more humid. I can’t talk about Babar (Azam) because we all know he is a world-class player. Iftikhar (Ahmed) has done so much whenever he gets the opportunity. He showcased his power hitting well today. The pacers, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah set up the platform for me, and then Haris Rauf was amazing. The conditions will differ; I have never played there (Pallekele), but let us see. We have confidence in each other, and this is the beauty of the Pakistan cricket team,” Shadab Khan said after the match.

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The fixture against India is undoubtedly the highlight of Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign. The intense rivalry between the two cricketing giants ensures that fans from both nations will closely watch the encounter. The clash carries the weight of the rivalry and the significance of progressing in the tournament. As Pakistan prepares to face their formidable opponents, the cricketing world is abuzz with speculations and predictions about the outcome of this highly anticipated match.

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