Shaheen Shah Afridi Eyes 100th Test Wicket in Long-Awaited Comeback

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Shaheen Shah Afridi Eyes 100th Test Wicket in Long-Awaited Comeback

Pakistan’s formidable strike bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi, is poised to achieve a significant milestone as he seeks his 100th Test wicket in the upcoming match against Sri Lanka in Galle on Sunday. 

This occasion holds added significance as it marks Afridi’s return to Test cricket, a year after sustaining an injury at the same venue.

Afridi was on the brink of reaching the century of Test wickets when he suffered an unfortunate injury while attempting to prevent a boundary, leaving him stranded at 99 wickets. Reflecting on his recovery and comeback, he expressed gratitude for being back on the field and acknowledged that injuries are an inherent part of an athlete’s journey. The wait to achieve this milestone has been prolonged, but Afridi remains determined and considers it a significant personal achievement.

Having recovered from his injury, Afridi rejoined the Pakistan team for their warm-up fixture against a Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI, which ended in a draw at Hambantota. The talented bowler showcased his prowess during the match, exhibiting blistering pace and lethal seam movement. In 12 overs, he claimed three wickets for 36 runs, reaffirming his match-winning potential.

The Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka holds significance beyond individual achievements, as both teams are striving to regain their former glory and secure a spot in the next International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship final, scheduled for 2025. Currently ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in the ICC Test rankings, they embark on a challenging journey to climb the ladder and assert their dominance in the longer format of the game.

Recalling the previous series between the two sides, Pakistan emerged victorious in the first Test, winning by four wickets, while Sri Lanka responded strongly in the second Test, securing a comprehensive 246-run victory to level the series. Notably, both matches took place in Galle, the same ground where Afridi suffered his injury.

As the much-anticipated Test match approaches, Sri Lanka faces a setback with Asitha Fernando contracting dengue fever. The uncapped left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka is expected to step in as his replacement. With an impressive start to his white-ball career, the 22-year-old Madushanka has already represented Sri Lanka in six ODIs and 11 T20Is. Eager to make his Test debut, he recently earned the Player of the Match award in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier final against the Netherlands, thanks to his exceptional three-wicket haul in a potent new-ball spell.

Afridi expresses his excitement about making his Test comeback at the same venue where he suffered his injury, adding an emotional element to the upcoming match. As Pakistan and Sri Lanka engage in this captivating contest, cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan eagerly await Afridi’s triumphant return and anticipate an enthralling battle between these two cricketing nations.