Vishal Mehra ∙ Updated: Sep 14 2023, 2:08 PM | 2 Min Read

'Losing Naseem Shah is 'Huge Blow': Bowling Coach Morne Morkel Ahead of SL Clash

image-lmiudg7lNaseem got injured during the India game [AP Photo]

With a spot in the final of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 up for grabs, Pakistan will take on defending champions Sri Lanka today at R Premadasa in Colombo.  Heading into the encounter, Pakistan were faced with several injury issues, mainly concerning pacers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.

On Wednesday, PCB announced a new-look playing XI without Shah, who has been ruled out of the tournament following an injury during a Super 4s match against India. Pakistan made wholesale changes in their playing XI, replacing players such as Rauf, Fakhar Zaman, Agha Salman and Faheem Ashraf.

As quoted by India Today, speaking on the eve of the Lankan match, bowling coach and former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel stated that Shah's loss is irreplaceable however backed other bowlers to stand up and perform. The PCB called upon Zaman Khan as Shah's replacement.

Here's what Morkel said

“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 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,"

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have two points each and will look to book a place in the final, which will take place on September 17, where they will face India.