Asian Cup 2022: Mohammad Hasnain Will Replace Shaheen Afridi In The Asian Cup 2022


Afridi sustained the injury during the test series against Sri Lanka in July. Due to the injury, the Lahore Qalandars man didn't play the second Test against the Lankans and remained on the sideline despite traveling to the Netherlands.

There was optimism that the 2021 ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year would be involved in one of the games. This was extinguished when the news came out regarding his withdrawal from the Asia Cup 2022 squad.

The absence of Afridi would be welcome news for the Indians, who are set to play their arch-rivals on Sunday (August 28). The Lahore Qalandars skipper memorably was instrumental in Pakistan's first win over India in the ICC World Cup games as he took the wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his first two overs.

Asian Cup 2022: Mohammad Hasnain Will Replace Shaheen Afridi In The 2022 Asian Cup

Despite all the negative vibes, there are still a lot of encouraging signs for the two-time Asia Cup 2022 winners as they look to build their bowling attack without their premium fast bowler.

With Afridi out of the picture, Pakistan will bank on extracting similar enthusiasm from Hasnain, who is coming back to the international team for the first time since December 2021.

The 22-year-old has shown promising signs since his return to international cricket but has never had it easy.

Mohammad Hasnain's Emergence To The Top

Ever since the days of Shoaib Akhtar running in with blistering pace, Pakistani fans have been deprived of a similar kind of bowler who can intimidate the batsmen through his pace and arrogance.

The emergence of Hasnain gave the fans hope as he rose to the scene because of his ability to ball fast. Ever since debuting for Pakistan in March 2019, the right-arm fast bowler has made steady progress.

In the 18 T20s he has played representing the green jersey, Hasnain has picked up 17 wickets. Apart from being a starter for Quetta Gladiators in PSL, the 22-year-old got recognition in the Big Bash League, the Caribbean Premier League, English County, and the Hundred.

Asian Cup 2022: Mohammad Hasnain Will Replace Shaheen Afridi In The 2022 Asian Cup

In his short yet controversial career so far, Hasnain has picked up 12 ODI wickets in 8 matches. In his domestic T20 career, the 22-year-old got 100 wickets in 82 matches. His lone five-wicket haul for Pakistan came in an ODI game against Zimbabwe in 2020.

Hasnain is one of the two Pakistani bowlers to have a hat trick in the T20s, which came against Sri Lanka in 2019. He was the youngest to achieve this feat and ninth overall.

Mohammad Hasnain Will Make A Comeback

In January 2022, Mohammad Hasnain went to Australia to participate in the Big Bash League. Representing Sydney Thunder on his debut, he took three wickets in the first over. From there onwards, it all came down like a house of cards for the 22-year-old.

The struggles for Hasnain started in the next game against Sydney Sixers when his bowling action got reported. In February, the ICC suspended the fast bowler from international cricket after they found out that his action was suspected. Many players of his PSL franchise Quetta Gladiators came out with huge support for their premium fast bowler after this news.

Hasnain never gave up and decided to rectify his bowling action. Eventually, in June, his bowling action got cleared and he was eligible to bowl again across all forms of the game. He was instantly signed by Worcestershire to play in the County Championship in England.

Asian Cup 2022: Mohammad Hasnain Will Replace Shaheen Afridi In The 2022 Asian Cup

Despite the clearance from the ICC, Hasnain had already created a controversial image himself. The boy all Pakistan fans deemed to be the next Shoaib Akhtar was still getting taunted for chucking.

In a Hundred game, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis fell to Hasnain, but he made gestures to his camp suggesting that Hasnain bent his arm while delivering the ball.

Those gestures didn't go too well within the Pakistani camp as the Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar bashed Stoinis on his Twitter account for his conduct after the dismissal. Hasnain thanked the former Pakistani fast bowler for his support.

Potential Role In Asia Cup 2022

With Shaheen Afridi injured and Hassan Ali dropped, Pakistan has only retained Haris Rauf from last year's World T20. This means that they would be going into this year's Asia Cup and even the World T20 with almost an entirely different bowling set-up to what it was last year at the T20 World Cup.

Rauf has been in fantastic form in the 2021 World T20, being extremely economical and effective in all of the games. He will hope that he would get support from Hasnain, Naseem Shah, and Shahnawaz Dahani in the fast bowling department.

Asian Cup 2022: Mohammad Hasnain Will Replace Shaheen Afridi In The 2022 Asian Cup

The first question would be whether Hasnain would be involved in the big match against India. As Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jr., and Haris were fantastic during the Netherlands tour, many expect all of them to be involved in the match against India.

As Pakistan captain Babar Azam likes to go with three seamers normally, there is a possibility that we can see the 22-year-old being involved in the India clash. If he does return against the Blues, he will likely take up the role that Afridi had before he got injured.

Afridi used to attack the opponent batsmen right from the first over through his pace and swing. We can expect Hasnain to take a similar sort of role and attack the Indian batsman from the start.

The middle overs will be taken care of by the spinners and Hasnain can return to either contain the runs or take crucial wickets in the death overs.

Ever since the retirement of Umar Gul, Pakistan hasn't had a reliable death-over specialist. Despite the evolution of Afridi, he is still not the man to be relied on in the final overs, as we saw in the semi-final of last year's World T20.

With the raw pace and aggression that Hasnain has, the Greens may finally have a bowler to rely on in the final overs of the T20 format.

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