Former Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez
has criticised the PCB for its delay in sending fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi
to London for treatment of his knee injury, calling the board's handling of the situation "criminal". Speaking on PTV Sports
, Hafeez called his Pakistan and Lahore Qalandars team-mate Afridi "not just a Pakistani product, but an asset for the world".
"It pains me how Shaheen's affair has been handled," Hafeez said. "He is being groomed, and the whole world wants to watch him, so we need to look after him in the right way. Since the PCB announcement [that Shaheen was being sent to London for specialist treatment], it was clear that Shaheen had been injured for several weeks, and that time has been wasted. This is a criminal act.
"He's gone to England now, but why couldn't this decision have been made eight weeks ago? The diagnosis should have been made straightaway, and he should have been sent for the best rehab immediately. The fact he needs to be sent abroad for treatment is unfortunate in its own right, because we in Pakistan have been unable to upgrade our own medical facilities."
Hafeez's remarks come amid increasing scrutiny of the PCB following its decision to reverse its original plan to manage Shaheen's right knee ligament injury, sustained during the first Test against Sri Lanka in July. Initially, the PCB announced
he would undergo rehab while travelling alongside the team despite being recommended "four to six weeks rest". Earlier this week, though, it was revealed he would fly to London
, with the PCB chief medical officer saying he required "uninterrupted, dedicated knee specialist care".
In recent years, the 22-year-old Afridi has established himself as Pakistan's frontline bowler across all three formats, and alongside captain Babar Azam is Pakistan's best-known and most marketable cricketer. He has tended to play most of Pakistan's internationals, providing the team with serious wicket-taking threat, especially with the new ball. He was in attendance for Pakistan's opening Asia Cup game on Sunday, and watched India beat
them in a final-over thriller.