Shaheen Shah Afridi’s elimination from Pakistan’s Asia Cup 2022 squad is indeed a hefty blow to the team. The left-armed pacer will no more be available to tremble other team’s top-order, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has already started looking for his better replacements.
There is no guarantee that the left-arm bowler will surely be replaced by another left-arm bowler, either a pacer or a spinner or an all-rounder, since the team already has four pace options. We can have a look at some probable replacements for Shaheen that the fans demand and can replace him in actuality.
Although Hasan Ali has been out-of-form, costing matches to the team on crucial occasions, fans and experts believe adding him won’t be a bad idea. It is because he is more experienced than others placed in Asia Cup 2022 bowling line-up and has had exposure to multiple ICC events.
Despite the fact that Hasan has been struggling in terms of his economy per match and grabbing wickets, he has proven his pace in the initial years of his career. Hasan’s PSLs are quite good examples to quote. Although the bowler has been carrying lashes for his struggles, there are high chances the board will name him as Shaheen’s replacement.
The youngster that trends on social media to replace Shaheen Shah in Pakistan’s Asia Cup 2022 squad is Mir Hamza. He has played for Pakistan only once in a solitary match against Australia in 2018 but can be a surprise bowler to Asian batters.
He is sure to be on the selectors’ minds following his recent appearance in a warm-up match in Lahore against Babar Azam’s ODI squad just before the Netherlands series. If the PCB is looking to replace the left-arm Shaheen with another leftie, there is no better option than Mir.
Zaman Khan enjoyed a phenomenal HBL PSL season for Lahore Qalandars this year. Qalandars, known for producing quality bowlers, will be proud of digging another talent who can be one of the replacements for Shaheen Shah Afridi in Asia Cup 2022 squad.
The fiery pacer has drawn comparisons with Sri Lanka’s legendary bowler Lasith Malinga. He can have a chance to flourish and portray his skills in an Asian contest in front of other big teams. PCB can have a youngster to try and rely on either.
Shoaib Malik has not played an international match for a long and was last seen playing a T20I in 2021. Much-hyped Malik was expected to make it to Asia Cup 2022 squad but the board shattered fans’ hopes by dropping him. The probable reason why he is not a part of is because of his unavailability throughout the year.
He understands he is fit enough to don a green jersey for two more years. The biggest flex of having him on the field will be his two-decade-old experience. Nonetheless, he can assist Pakistan in spin bowling alongside providing some quality views in middle-order batting.
Pakistan squad for Asia Cup 2022 has enough pace, including Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, and Shahnawaz Dahani. There is no certainty that the PCB will name a pacer to replace Shaheen. Trying a spin master won’t be a bad idea on the UAE pitches.
Zahid Mehmood, a quality leg-spinner, has always amazed the masses with his bowling. Since the pitches in the UAE are expected to have some support, he can form a couple with Shadab Khan there. Mehmood is already in the Netherlands squad, and it is to see whether he can extend till Asia Cup 2022.
Although Mohammad Amir announced retirement from international cricket following his unstable relations with the PCB management, his recent tweet circulating across social media has very much to say. As soon as Afridi was evicted from the squad, fans posted in favour of multiple cricketers replacing him, including Amir.
Seeing his name trending in the Twitter Trends, he penned out on his Twitter why his name is trending, probably hinting to take back retirement if woes with the board end. The fans answered that they want him back in the squad as he can be the best fit for Shaheen, trembling other teams’ top-order.
However, Ramiz Raja’s policies allow no cricketer with a tainted past back in the team. It diminishes Amir’s chance to be in the Asia Cup 2022 squad despite his wishes visible from his Tweet. To see Amir back in Pakistan Cricket is now only limited to fans’ demand and not reality.