Young fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain has replaced the injured Shaheen Afridi in Pakistan's squad for the Asia Cup T20 tournament in the UAE that begins this week.
Hasnain, 22, returned to cricket in June after remodelling his bowling action. He was suspended from bowling in February after his action was called by umpires during the Big Bash League in Australia.
The express quick bowler began bowling again after successfully reducing the flex in his elbow. He is representing the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred and will join the Pakistan team in the UAE.
The right-arm pacer has taken 17 wickets in 18 T20s and played his last T20 against the West Indies at Karachi in December 2021. Hasnain is considered one of the quickest bowlers in his country and will provide much-needed firepower to Pakistan's attack in the absence of pace spearhead Afridi, who has been ruled out of the Asia Cup and also next month’s seven-match T20 series against England after doctors advised him to rest for at least four to six weeks to fully recover from a knee injury.
Hasnain's return has been far from smooth, though. During the Hundred competition, Australia’s Marcus Stoinis mimicked Hasnain’s bowling action with a throwing motion when he was walking back to the dugout after being caught by the fast bowler’s short pitched delivery.
However, the Australian batsman was not formally sanctioned for seemingly questioning the legality of Hasnain’s action.
Pakistan are placed in Group A along with archrivals India and a qualifier. Pakistan will play their opening game against India on Saturday. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in Group B with the top two teams going through the Super 4 stage.
The Indians too will be without their No 1 bowler in the format. Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the Asia Cup after picking up another back injury.