Friday, September 15, 2023

Babar Azam says Naseem Shah may miss a 'couple' of World Cup matches

Meanwhile, Haris Rauf has a side strain but is rapidly improving

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (left) and pacer Naseem Shah. — APP/File
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (left) and pacer Naseem Shah. — APP/File  

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has raised the possibility that pacer Naseem Shah may miss some of the matches during the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023. 

Naseem was ruled out of the Asia Cup 2023 after he injured his right shoulder during the Super 4 match against India. The pacer has been advised by the medical panel to rest before the World Cup. 

The ICC World Cup is scheduled to take place in India and will start next month. 

Meanwhile, fast bowler 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 missed 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," Babar said during a post-match press conference.

The skipper also remained coy about backup plans in case the duo didn’t recover in time for the mega event.

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

Naseem 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 Naseem and Haris. 

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 in 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 1:07am local time.

However, the result broke the hearts 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 the 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.