Naseem Shah could miss beginning of World Cup

Naseem Shah sustained a shoulder injury during Pakistan’s clash against India in Super 4 of the Asia Cup. 

Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah could potentially miss the start of the upcoming ODI World Cup in India. Captain Babar Azam has raised doubts if Naseem could recover in time for the pinnacle of the sport. Pakistan had suffered a dual blow ahead of their final Super 4 fixture, with both Naseem and Haris Rauf unavailable due to injuries. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has not given any timeline for Naseem’s recovery but Babar seemed unsure as to whether Naseem would play the opening game of the tournament.

On the other hand, Babar seemed more confident about Haris Rauf. The fast bowler is nursing a side strain but is expected to be fit for the start of the World Cup. Pakistan not officially ruling him out of the Asia Cup was an indication that his injury is not as serious. 

Speaking in the post-match presentation after Pakistan’s last-ball defeat against Sri Lanka which knocked them out of the Asia Cup, Babar said Rauf should recover before the World Cup.

READ: Asia Cup final prediction

Babar Azam on Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf injuries

When asked about the contingency plan in case both Naseem and Rauf miss out, Babar shied away from revealing back-up plans.

“I’ll tell you later. Not telling you our Plan B now. But yes, 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,” said Babar.

Naseem is currently in Dubai for scans on his right shoulder, which he injured while bowling against India on Monday. He could not complete his final over as he walked off and was ruled out of the remainder of the Asia Cup. Rauf, who bowled five overs on Sunday, did not bowl on the reserve day, with Pakistan deciding to rest him as a precautionary measure with the World Cup fast approaching. 

The 20-year old Naseem has had to deal with a fair share of injuries in his early career. A back injury at the age of 17 had kept him out of action for 14 months. Six weeks after making his return from that injury, he was out with a shoulder injury he suffered during the County Championship.

Naseem has become a key part of Pakistan’s bowling attack across all three formats. Since making his ODI debut, he has taken 32 wickets in 14 matches at an average of under 17.

In the absence of Naseem and Rauf, Pakistan suffered a heart-breaking loss against Sri Lanka. They brought in Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Zaman Khan but they could not make much impact. The duo bowled nine overs combined and conceded 64 runs as Sri Lanka sneaked home on the final ball.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!