What’s happening with Shaheen Shah Afridi’s knee?

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Shaheen Shah Afridi has a knee injury. So far, so mundane – but if there is one cricket body that can manage a fast bowler’s physical wellbeing in a colourful and unexpected way, it is the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Remember when Shoaib Akhtar had genital warts? Of course you do, because the PCB put out a press release about it.

In the eyes of the PCB, putting out a press release about a star player’s genital warts is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do.

Afridi’s knee is not that type of ailment. It’s a more workaday problem; the kind you’d want to treat swiftly and efficiently when it’s keeping your best bowler off the park.

“That’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do,” muttered the PCB, channelling Rex Kramer. They instead went for having him pointlessly travel around with the team while undergoing some vague sort of rehab.

This was a month ago, which means Afridi at one point flew to the Netherlands for a three-match series he almost certainly wasn’t going to play in. Halfway through that series, he was prescribed four to six weeks’ rest by the PCB’s medical advisory committee. The PCB decided he should still stay with the squad.

But then a couple of days ago – about six weeks after he was first injured – Afridi was sent to London because apparently it’s one of the best cities in which to have a duff knee.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi requires uninterrupted, dedicated knee specialist care,” explained the PCB’s chief medical officer Najeebullah Soomro.

We very much like the idea that a knee might require ‘uninterrupted’ care from a specialist. It conjures images of a lackey – a kneewallah, we suppose – lovingly basting the joint with some sort of unguent while a bleeping monitor in the corner of the room keeps tabs on its vitals.

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  1. I wondered how the last sentence of the above might read were you to substitute Shoib’s genital-wartwallah for Shaheen’s kneewallah.

    I laughed at the wording and then shuddered at the mental image it conjured.

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