Pakistan jolted by Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf injury updates ahead of World Cup; Zaman to replace Naseem in Asia Cup
The PCB on Wednesday confirmed that Naseem Shah has been ruled out of the remainder of the Asia Cup 2023.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday confirmed that the side's star pacer, Naseem Shah, will miss the rest of the Asia Cup following an injury during the Super 4 match against India earlier this wee. The pacer will be replaced with Zaman Khan in their squad. Naseem sustained a right shoulder injury and is currently under the supervision of the team's medical panel, considering the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup.
Zaman, a right-arm pacer, has represented Pakistan in T20Is and has already joined the squad in Sri Lanka. He has claimed four wickets in six T20Is for Pakistan, with an average of 32.5 and an economy rate of 6.66.
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Haris Rauf, who had also remained absent throughout the action on reserve day, is being monitored but continues to be part of the Asia Cup squad. The injury to Naseem comes as a blow to Pakistan with weeks remaining for the ODI World Cup to begin; the marquee global tournament kickstarts on October 5. Additionally, Pakistan also face a must-win game against fellow co-hosts Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Super 4 stage, as the winner will secure an entry into the final of the tournament.
Babar Azam's men faced a thrashing at the hands of India in the Super 4 game, with the side collapsing at 128 in a 357-run chase. And so, Pakistan's concerns extend beyond their injury-related bowling woes, as their batting has yet to hit its stride in the tournament. While they did post an impressive 342 for six against minnows Nepal in the Asia Cup opener at Multan, their batting performances have been inconsistent overall.
The team primarily relies on its openers, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, as well as captain Babar Azam, to provide substantial runs. However, they are in desperate need of contributions from players like Mohammad Rizwan and Salman Agha. Iftikhar Ahmed displayed his ability to hit big with a scintillating century against Nepal, but he must do so more consistently when facing stronger opponents.
Winner faces India
India secured a place in the final of the Asia Cup after an impressive 42-run win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Despite being restricted to 213 after opting to bat, India made an excellent comeback through their bowlers and Kuldeep Yadav (4/43) in particular, as Sri Lanka were bowled out on 172.
Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in their final group game on Thursday, with an aim to secure a final round with arch-rivals for the Asia Cup title. With India's win on Tuesday, Bangladesh became the first side to get knocked out in the Super 4 stage.
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