Last week, the PCB confirmed that there were no signs of injury after a scan and that the knee pain was likely “due to forceful bending of the knee during landing” and advised two weeks of rehabilitation. Even then, ESPNcricinfo reported that Afridi was unlikely to be available for the December-January home Tests against England and New Zealand. “His return to international cricket will be subject to successful completion of the champion fast bowler’s rehabilitation program and the go-ahead from the medical staff,” the PCB said.
The injury was the latest setback for Afridi, who has spent much time rehabilitating since July when he first suffered a knee injury in Sri Lanka.
Afridi remained part of the team even after it was decided that he would undergo rehabilitation on the tour. However, during the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates in August–September, he was dropped from the squad and flown to London for further evaluation of his injury ahead of the T20 World Cup. He eventually returned to take part in Pakistan’s campaign, gaining steam during the league stage before injuring himself in the final.
Afridi’s possible unavailability is a blow for Pakistan, who are still in contention for a place in the World Test Championship finals in England next June. Pakistan is currently fifth, teetering in a very crowded mid-table contention: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and the West Indies currently have percentages between 50 and 53.33.
Pakistan will host England for three Tests starting December 1, while New Zealand will arrive later this month for two Tests and three ODIs.