‘You want to be great or millionaire?': Wasim, Waqar blast Shaheen Afridi's ‘real shocker’ in 3rd Test vs Australia

Jan 03, 2024 09:28 AM IST

Legendary Pakistan cricketers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis lambasted Shaheen Shah Afridi for not playing the Pakistan vs Australia 3rd Test in Sydney.

Pakistan's decision to "rest" their star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi from the third and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday was meted with heavy criticism from legendary cricketers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Afridi was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers in the previous two Test matches which Australia won to retain the Benaud-Qadir Trophy. The Pakistan team management's decision to rest Shaheen from the Sydney Test is believed to be because of the T20I series against New Zealand. Pakistan are set to play five T20Is in New Zealand starting from January 12 and the series will also mark Shaheen's first outing as the regular T20I captain of the Men in Green.

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis slammed Shaheen Shah Afridi for not playing 3rd Test vs Australia
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis slammed Shaheen Shah Afridi for not playing 3rd Test vs Australia

Former captain Akram, however, did not agree with the decision. Launching a scathing attack on Shaheen, Akram said it was the left-arm fast who "solely" took the call and not the team management.

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"It had nothing to do with the management," Akram said on Fox Cricket. " It was "solely [Shaheen's] decision"

Akram said players will have to decide "if you want to be a great of the game or do you want to be a millionaire".

"Straight after this there are five T20s in New Zealand, and Shaheen's the captain," he said. "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."

Shaheen's workload has always been a topic of discussion in Pakistan cricket. The left-arm pacer bowled the most overs in the first two Test and considering the history of injury he has had, it only makes sense to rotate him. But should the rotation take place in Test cricket? That is the question PCB needs to answer.

Waqar Younis calls it ‘real shocker’

Another legendary cricketer and former captain, Waqar Younis found the whole incident "laughable".

"We play for Test match cricket," he said, talking to Channel 7 on the morning of the first day. "We don't play for T20s or one-day cricket. And if you're missing Test match cricket purely because you are being rested, I do not understand.

"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."

Australia, meanwhile got off to a great start after Pakistan opted to bat. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood sent back the openers for a duck and then captain Pat Cummins got rid of Babar Azam Shaud Shakeel. For Pakistan, Mohammad Rizwan slammed a counter-attacking half-century.

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