‘At times I wanted to give up’ Shaheen unfolds exhausting fitness journey – A Sports

‘At times I wanted to give up’ Shaheen unfolds exhausting fitness journey – A Sports

LAHORE: Pakistan star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi revealed his journey to attain complete fitness, saying at times he had felt like giving up the efforts during a long rehabilitation program that he underwent following his knee injury in November last year.  

Shaheen, who is now completely fit to return to competitive cricket, will lead defending champions Lahore Qalandar in the upcoming edition of the PSL 8, which will be his first major assignment after the rehabilitation.

The left-arm pacer suffered multiple episodes of a knee injury last year. He was first left out of action between July and October after picking up the injury during the Sri Lanka Test tour while his latest discomfort came in the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup on November 13.

“There were times when I wanted to give up,” Shaheen told PCB Digital. “I was working on only one muscle and it was not improving. Often during the rehabilitation sessions, I used to say to myself ‘this is enough, I cannot do this anymore.”

“But then I used to watch my bowling on YouTube and see how well I had done and that motivated me and I told myself ‘to push a little more’ … It is frustrating for a fast bowler to miss cricket because of an injury.”

While there is no good time to be injured, Shaheen’s had come at a time when Pakistan were scheduled for their biggest home season in over a decade with seven T20Is and three Tests against England followed by two Tests and three One-Day Internationals against New Zealand. Shaheen missed all 15 games.

“It is tough when you miss your home games because of the injury,” he says. “Before our Test home season, I even missed the seven England T20Is. I was more distressed for missing the Tests, because I like Test cricket more. A bowler is measured on how he performs in Test cricket and I wanted to take wickets against England.”

When asked was there any moment during the 2022-23 home season that made him want to get in the Pakistan colours, the lanky pacer replied: “It came when I was watching the [Multan Test] match and our tailenders were not able to finish the game. I wanted to hit a few sixes there and finish the match for Pakistan,” he chuckles. “Also, when they [England] were scoring a lot of runs, I wanted to give my input with the ball.”

Shaheen made sure to remain in touch with the bowlers. “It is tough to switch from the white ball cricket to red ball cricket as the demands of the Test format are totally different from the limited overs. I was in touch with the boys over phone. Naseem bowls really quick and mentally he is very sharp and understands he needs to be done. I used to speak with Haris Rauf daily. I remained in touch with our other bowlers as well, who played in the Tests.”</…….

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