Pakistan brace for Naseem Shah setback ahead of World Cup

Pacer could miss couple of matches, according to Babar Azam

By Web Desk
September 15, 2023
Naseem Shah (L) suffered a shoulder injury. - AFP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has admitted that pacer Naseem Shah could miss couple of matches during the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023.

Shah, who was ruled of the Asia Cup 2023 on Wednesday, has been advised by medical panel to rest before the World Cup scheduled in India from next month. The medical panel will continue to examine Shah.

Meanwhile, Haris Rauf was not allowed to bowl against India as a precaution on the reserve day. The right-arm pacer has a side strain and is rapidly improving.

“Haris Rauf is not bad. He's just got a little bit of a side strain, but he's recovering before the World Cup. Naseem Shah also... they have a couple of miss matches, I don't know [how long] the recovery [is], but in my opinion, Naseem Shah also [will be] in the World Cup later on. But let's see," Azam said during a post-match press conference.

Azam also remained coy about back-up plans in case the duo don’t recover in time for the mega event.

"I'll tell you later," he said. "Not telling you our Plan B now.”

Shah is currently in Dubai undergoing scans for the muscle injury below his right shoulder.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) called up Zaman Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani as backups for Shah and Rauf, who picked up injuries during the Green Shirts' Super Four clash against India on Monday.

It must be noted that Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by two wickets in a virtual semi-final of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo last night.

Kusal Mendis´ 91 and an unbeaten 49 by Charith Asalanka helped Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by two wickets in a thrilling clash of the Asia Cup.

Sri Lanka required eight from the final over while chasing a DLS revised target of 252 in the 42-overs-a-side contest in Colombo. The home side achieved the target with Asalanka playing the winning shot on the last ball at 1.07 am local time.

However, the result broke the heart of millions of fans who were eager for an India-Pakistan final in the event, a prelude to next month’s ODI World Cup.

The left-handed Asalanka stayed calm under pressure despite Shaheen Shah Afridi´s two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over and the first four balls from Zaman Khan giving away just two runs and a wicket in the 42nd over.

Mendis put Sri Lanka on path to victory with a 100-run third-wicket partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made 48, but Asalanka took it on himself after their departure.

The final of the Asia Cup 2023 will now be played between Sri Lanka and India on Sunday, September 17, in Colombo.