Pakistan have received a major blow as their frontline pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi has been ruled out of the upcoming Asia Cup 2022 as well as the home T20I series against England due to a knee injury.

Afridi is currently with the Pakistan team in the Netherlands as part of his rehabilitation programme and has been advised to rest for four to six weeks following the latest scans and reports.

Notably, the left-arm speedster sustained his knee ligament injury during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month and has been out of action since. According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Afridi is expected to return in the T20I tri-series in New Zealand, which involves Bangladesh as well. The tri-series is set to begin on October 7 – just 16 days from Pakistan’s opening T20 World Cup 2022 game against arch-rivals India.

“I have spoken with Shaheen, and he is understandably upset with the news, but he is a brave young man who has vowed to come back strongly to serve his country and team. Although he has made progress during his rehabilitation in Rotterdam, it is now clear he will require more time and is likely to return to competitive cricket in October,” said PCB Chief Medical Officer Dr Najeebullah Soomro in a statement.

“PCB’s Sports & Exercise Medicine Department will be working closely with the player over the coming weeks to ensure his safe return to competitive cricket,” he added.

Pakistan will start their Asia Cup campaign against India on August 28, and after the multi-team event, they will host England in a seven-match T20I series from September 20 to October 2. The apex cricket board of Pakistan hasn’t made any announcement yet regarding the replacement of Afridi.

Pakistan squad for the Asia Cup 2022:

Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.

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