Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and Marnus Labuschagne of Australia reflect on 19 days of grueling, exciting and high-voltage cricket between the two sides in the latest edition of the PCB Podcast,

Shaheen, who took nine wickets in three Tests, said: “This series has brought players from either side closer than ever. We visited Australia in 2019 and also met their players during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, but almost six weeks together has helped bridge the gap. There were tough moments in the field of play, but off field everything was easy, relaxed and friendly.

“The incident with David Warner turned out to be an amusing one. It was the last ball of the day and I came very close to David on my follow through. David has a good sense of humour, so he also stayed there and it made a great shot for the photographers. It was a light hearted incident and it stayed that way, but both David and I enjoyed the social media reaction in the days that followed.”

Labuschagne, who scored 170 runs in three Tests, said: “It’s been an amazing tour. The Pakistani people have really accepted the Australian (cricket) team. It was like a home game with the amount of crowd noise we’ve got in some of the matches.

“It’s been really an eye-opening experience as well, to what Pakistan’s like, obviously when you, haven’t been to a country, there’s a lot of speculation. You obviously paint a picture in your mind but, the country itself as far exceeded my expectations in terms of the picture and what the people are about.

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“Cricket on the field has been really hard and competitive. But there’s been such great times and I’ve had a really good time with Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan, even Abdullah Shafique and Imam-Ul-Haq when they’re batting. It’s been really exciting and enjoyable that you can play a series where it’s competitive, but also friendly. Off the field, you can have a laugh about things that have happened and stuff like that.”

Australia arrived in Islamabad on 27 February and departed on 6 April after playing three Tests, three ODIs and a T20I. The Test series was decided in the final session on the 15th day, the ODI series was won by Pakistan by 2-1 and in the one-off T20I, Australia overcame a late collapse to win by three wickets.

Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad, who was inducted into the PCB Hall of Fame during the Karachi Test, also spoke with PCB Digital and reflected on his early career days. The master batter paid tribute to India maestro Sunil Gavaskar, while praising his technique and temperament.

The 39th PCB Podcast also includes special feature on Aftab Ahmed, the 24-year-old from Qilla Saifullah who represented Balochistan 2nd XI in the 2021-22 season. In this touching story, Aftab reveals his family and friends abandoned him for his love for cricket, shares his struggle and admits being on the brink of committing suicide after he failed to make any headway in the sport before he found light at the end of the tunnel and was now happy and content with his career progression.

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