Pakistan's bowling coach, Morne Morkel, expressed his concern on Wednesday over the absence of injured pacer Naseem Shah, stating that it is a significant setback for the team. However, he remains hopeful that another talented bowler will step up to fill Naseem's shoes in the crucial Asia Cup Super Four match against Sri Lanka.
Naseem Shah sustained a right shoulder injury during the match against India, which ultimately ruled him out of the tournament. Zaman Khan has been named as his replacement.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are currently tied on two points each as they head into the virtual knockout match on Thursday. The victor of this match will earn the opportunity to face India in the final on September 17.
Morkel acknowledged the gravity of Naseem's absence, stating, "Obviously, it is a big blow (absence of Naseem). It is unfortunate that he picked some little niggles. But what a fantastic opportunity for the guys you know coming in. After going down against India, it’s a must-win game for us tomorrow. I’m quite excited to see new guys stepping in and showing some character."
While reflecting on the disappointing loss to India, where Pakistan were bowled out for just 128 runs after India amassed 356 for two, Morkel emphasised the importance of self-reflection and resilience.
“After the India match, we were bitterly disappointed. For me, it is very important for the bowlers to do a bit of self-reflection, ask yourself the hard questions. Yes, credit must also go to the Indian batters.
“They put us under pressure early. Those are fantastic lessons for us before the World Cup. We are gonna grow from this and come back stronger,” said Morkel.
Morkel expressed hope that Pakistan's spinners would rise to the occasion in the match against Sri Lanka, given the spin-friendly conditions.
“The conditions are spin friendly and I think our spinners are working really hard at the moment. They will be the first to put up their hands when it is needed. They are all match-winners and experienced players. They know how to make comebacks,” he added.