Pakistan’s Afridi to be fit for World Cup opener: Raja

Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has made rapid progress from a knee injury and will be “battle-ready” for their Twenty20 World Cup opener against arch-rivals India this month, the country’s cricket board chief, Ramiz Raja, said.

Afridi has been sidelined since sustaining a ligament injury to his right knee during a test match in Sri Lanka in July and missed the Asia Cup as well as the home series against England.

“I had a chat with Shaheen … and he said he hasn’t felt this good in ages. So, the progress is very good,” Raja told Dawn news. “He said he’d be battle-ready soon, it’s great news for us.”

The 22-year-old has been Pakistan’s pace spearhead, whose express speed and ability to generate bounce and bowl pin-point yorker make him such a feared bowler. Raja said they did not want to rush the left-arm bowler back into action considering how serious knee injuries could get. “A knee injury is quite technical and a delicate issue,” the former Pakistan captain said.

“We were of the view that we won’t take the risk until he was 110% fit. “When we spoke, Shaheen said, ‘I’m already 110%, so don’t worry. I’ll play practice matches too and will be ready for the match against India.’”

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