Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis slam Shaheen Shah Afridi’s SCG omission

Wasim claimed the decision “had nothing to do with the management” and was “solely [Shaheen’s] decision”, warning players more broadly they had to decide “if you want to be a great of the game or do you want to be a millionaire” when it came to deciding which format to prioritise.

“Straight after this there are five T20s in New Zealand, and Shaheen’s the captain,” Wasim said on Fox Cricket. “But T20 cricket, who cares? I understand, it’s there for entertainment and it’s there for financial gain for cricket boards, for players, but cricketers should know that Test cricket is the ultimate.

“If we talk about what happened 20 years ago in this Test in Sydney, nobody knows what happened last night in T20. That’s the difference. These guys have to understand and learn, if you want to be a great of the game or do you want to be a millionaire. You can become both but with a little more sense.”

Waqar was similarly surprised, saying Afridi’s absence “made me laugh”.

“That’s a real shocker for me because I was expecting him to be a part of this Test match because he looked good in the previous match. He started feeling like the old Shaheen Afridi and started to swing the ball and the pace was getting better.”

Afridi’s workload was a matter of concern for Pakistan over the first two Tests. Leading a depleted, inexperienced fast bowling line-up without a lead spinner in the first two Tests, he bowled four balls short of 100 overs, almost 30 more than the second busiest bowler of the series, Nathan Lyon.

His workload over a wider period of time has also become an issue as he assumed greater responsibility in white-ball cricket. He is the captain of Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League, and signed a three-year deal with the ILT20 last year.

He was also appointed captain of the Pakistan T20I side, which he will take charge of in New Zealand in a five-match T20I series that starts five days after the scheduled end of the third Test. Despite spending time out with injury, only eight pace bowlers have bowled more balls than Afridi in international cricket since July 2022.

Ahead of the series, Haris Rauf had made himself unavailable, instead opting to take up his BBL deal with Melbourne Stars.

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