Posted on: March 8, 2014

Afridi, Shehzad injured, Might miss Asia Cup 2014 Final

By Asfak Patel

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Afridi, Shehzad injured, Might miss Asia Cup 2014 Final

Pakistan are facing injury concerns ahead of the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, as four of their players are striving to attain complete fitness for Saturday’s all-important clash in Dhaka. 

The unfit players include all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who played key role in the team’s entry to the final with his explosive knocks against India and Bangladesh. In-form opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad, who struck a century in a record-chase against the hosts, is also nursing an injury.

Opening batsman Sharjeel Khan, who missed the fixture against Bangladesh after injuring his leg on the field against India, and Mohammad Talha, who could bowl just seven overs against the archrivals on debut, are also struggling to attain full fitness.

“Shehzad is suffering from a shoulder injury. He took painkillers and went out to bat in considerable discomfort against Bangladesh.  He showed a lot of courage by staying on the crease for a long time during his century.

“He only trained lightly today [Thursday],” said the official before hoping for the availability of the following players for the final.

Afridi looks forward to title-clash  

Afridi, who has made a stunning impact on the tournament, spoke to the media after the team’s training session, hoping to recover from the injury.

“Yes, there is a groin problem but it’s not a major issue,” he told reporters.

“I am hopeful of recovering from the injury in a day’s time.”

Commenting on his game changing knocks, Afridi stated that winning the Asia Cup was important for the team and he just wanted to give his best efforts.

“It’s an important tournament for us and I am happy with my timely performance.”

The former captain said it had always been his target to make vital contributions for the team in both bowling and batting.

“It’s not possible to perform every day, but I am working very hard. I am making a lot of effort in bowling also.”

‘I don’t need a coach’

Afridi, who has played in 377 One-Day Internationals, said he was at a stage in his career where he did not require coaching.

“I have been playing for a really long time,” he said. “I am better off coaching myself. All I need is the support of people around me.”

Speaking on the high octane Indo-Pak matches, he said the crunch encounters were all about handling the pressure.

“The team that handles pressure well on that day wins.”

When asked about the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 fixture between the arch-rivals on March 21, the all-rounder said he was not looking at things beyond the Asia Cup final at the moment.

“Our focus is on the final. We’ll speak about that when the time comes.”

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