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Mohammad Amir issues warning over Shaheen Afridi’s workload management

The left-arm fast-bowler also expressed his disappointment over not being picked for Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand

Mohammad Amir issues warning over Shaheen Afridi’s workload management PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir is concerned about fellow left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi’s workload management.

While talking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Amir said that Shaheen is playing too much and lacks adequate rest in between matches.

“Shaheen is a blessing for Pakistan and he is leading the bowling attack but everyone knows that he is playing too much. I know that he wants to continue playing and does not like resting but his workload needs to be managed. He can carry on like this at the moment, due of his young age, but later on in his career this will cause problems for him,” said Amir.

The left-arm fast-bowler also expressed his disappointment over not being picked for Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand.

“It was disappointing as I was expecting to be part of the squad [for New Zealand tour]. It was the selector’s decision but this motivates me to perform in a better manner, improve my fitness and regain my place in the side,” he said.

“The New Zealand tour could be make or break for many cricketers, which has also been the case in the past as well. The conditions are difficult for batting while the bowlers also have small margin of error due to small boundaries. So the players, especially the youngsters, who perform well can improve their career trajectory,” he added.

He also opened up about his retirement from Test cricket the criticism he has faced over this decision.

“People talk about my age and retirement but what they don’t realise that I did not play cricket for five years. Even if you don’t start your car for a week, even that needs oil change to get it running properly once again,” he said. “My workload management was becoming a major issue which forced me to take that decision. I was continuously facing fitness issues and our physiotherapist Cliffe Deacon can confirm that I was number one in the treatment list, during England tour in 2018. If I had played all formats, I would have retired from international cricket by now.”

Amir also spoke about Karachi Kings’ maiden title win in the Pakistan Super League season five.

“Although it took us five years to win the trophy but the good thing about Karachi Kings is that they trusted their local players and backed Imad Wasim as captain. If you look at some of the other franchises they tend to panic and change captains and players if results don’t go their way,” he said.

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Shedding light on his fantastic super over against Multan Sultans, to take his team over the line, Amir praised interim head coach Wasim Akram for playing a key role.

“First of all, I was shocked to see the match go to the super over as we were cruising to victory. But I would like to give credit to Wasim [Akram] bhai here as he immediately told me that I was going to bowl the super over, which helped me prepare mentally, as soon as our batsmen went out to bat. This is a sign of a good coach as the team did not panic and knew the plans,” he said.

Amir also paid tribute to Karachi Kings’ head coach Dean Jones, who passed away before the playoffs.

“When Dean Jones was announced as our coach we did not know how he would deal with the players but everything changed after our first meeting. The technical things he told us about the game was something I had not heard before which was an amazing experience,” he said. “He worked really hard with Wasim bhai to form a winning team combination.”

Amir also welcomed the idea of Indian cricketers, like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, playing in the PSL.

“We have always said, as players, that cricket, or any other sport, and politics should be kept separate,” said Amir. “I love challenges like bowling to top-notch batsmen and it would have been great to bowl to them [Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma]. Be it the IPL or PSL, it would be beneficial for players, from Pakistan and India, playing in these competitions in terms of exposure and quality of cricket.”

The 28-year-old also said that it was more difficult to bowl to Babar Azam as compared with Virat Kohli.

“If you compare Babar with Kohli, I find it difficult bowling to Babar because of his stance because if I take the ball away from him he plays the drive [through off-side] and if I bring the ball back in, he flicks it [through on-side],” he concluded.

FULL INTERVIEW