Pakistan's two main batting forces, Shahid Afridi (R) and Umar Akmal (C), are in jovial mood as they joke with left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman during practice at the Academy Ground in Mirpur yesterday. They will however be down to the serious business of retaining their Asia Cup title when they take on Sri Lanka in the final today. PHOTO: Firoz Ahmed
Soon after Shahid Afridi had reached his half-century against Bangladesh on Tuesday, Pakistan's physio had run out to the field to attend to him. Struggling to move after that, Afridi was run out. Three days later, he was still walking gingerly when Pakistan trained on the eve of the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka.
"Shahid Afridi has a grade one hip flexor strain," their manager Zakir Khan said. "Our physio is working on him. He's been given rest and treatment.
"Hopefully tomorrow, before the start of the match we will know the complete situation about Afridi. He has responded well to the treatment. Tomorrow we will take the final decision about Afridi."
Afridi isn't the only Pakistan player with a fitness issue.
"We have little bit of niggles and strains to Ahmed Shehzad who was struggling with his shoulder," Zakir said. "He's also responding well to treatment. He's coming up well. Umar Gul was a little bit stiff but he's also coming out of it."
Zakir added that Sharjeel Khan, who had missed the Bangladesh game with a knee injury, was "nearly 98% fit. He batted and fielded at the nets and looked good today."
From these comments, it seemed as if Sharjeel and Gul would probably be fully fit in time to play the final. Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, didn't provide too many clues to the likelihood of Afridi and Shehzad making it.
“Obviously your main players make a difference to the side," Misbah said. "We hope to get them in the side but at the same time we're confident that even if they don't play, we have the boys in the bench who are capable and confident to win the game for us."