Former Pakistan pace greats Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis criticised the decision to rest fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi in the third and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), with Akram warning players to decide if they want to be the greats of their sport or a millionaire by playing T20 cricket. After Pakistan lost the series 2-0, Shaheen has been rested from the final Test at Sydney, which is also Australia opener David Warner’s farewell Test.

Wasim claimed that decision “had nothing to do with the management” and was “solely [Shaheen’s] decision”. He warned players to decide “if you want to be a great of the game or do you want to be a millionaire” while prioritising formats.

“Straight after this there are five T20s in New Zealand, and Shaheen’s the captain,” Wasim said on Fox Cricket as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

“But T20 cricket, who cares? I understand, it is there for entertainment and it is there for financial gain for cricket boards, for players, but cricketers should know that Test cricket is the ultimate.”

“If we talk about what happened 20 years ago in this Test in Sydney, nobody knows what happened last night in T20. That’s the difference. These guys have to understand and learn, if you want to be a great of the game or do you want to be a millionaire. You can become both but with a little more sense,” he concluded.

Waqar was also surprised with the decision, saying that Shaheen’s absence “made him laugh” and he expected him to play because he was looking great in the second Test with his swing and pace.

“That is a real shocker for me because I was expecting him to be a part of this Test match because he looked good in the previous match. He started feeling like the old Shaheen Afridi and started to swing the ball and the pace was getting better,” he said.

Shaheen’s workload was a concern for Pakistan after two Tests as he was leading a depleted, inexperienced pace bowling line-up without a lead spinner. He bowled almost a hundred overs, just four balls short of it. The second-most busiest bowler of the series has been Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, who has bowled almost 30 overs less than Shaheen.

Shaheen’s workload over a wide period has been concerning for Pakistan ever since he assumed more responsibility in white-ball cricket. He is the skipper of Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Lahore Qalandars and has also inked a deal of three years with the International League T20 (ILT20) last year.

Shaheen will also begin his reign as T20I captain with five-match series against New Zealand this month, just five days after the third Test. Despite spending so much time out due to injury, only eight pacers have bowled more than Shaheen since July 2022.

Pacer Naseem Shah is injured, while Haris Rauf also made himself unavailable for Tests, instead playing for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League (BBL).

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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