Naseem Shah To Miss Initial World Cup Matches: Babar Azam
Babar Azam (L) and Naseem Shah (R). (Getty)
Pakistan's all-format skipper, Babar Azam, dropped hints about the likely absence of pace bowler Naseem Shah in the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup scheduled to commence on October 5 in India. This revelation came following Pakistan's exit from the Asia Cup 2023.
Naseem sustained a right shoulder injury during the match against India, subsequently ruling him out for the remainder of the Asia Cup. As a result, the team management decided to bring in Zaman Khan as his injury replacement.
When inquired about Pakistan's contingency plans in case Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf miss the World Cup, Babar indicated that Rauf's injury was less severe than Naseem's, and he should recover in time for the global tournament. While Babar refrained from disclosing specific backup strategies, he did provide insights into the outlook for both players.
"We won't divulge our Plan B at this stage. Haris Rauf's condition isn't too serious; he's dealing with a minor side strain, and he's on the path to recovery for the World Cup. As for Naseem Shah, while they may miss a couple of matches, I remain optimistic that Naseem Shah will join us in the World Cup later. But we'll have to wait and see," stated Babar Azam during the post-match press conference.
Team doctor Sohail Saleem reassured,"Both of these fast bowlers (Naseem and Haris) are valuable assets, and the team's medical panel is committed to providing them with the best possible care as we prepare for the crucial ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023."
Pakistan felt the impact of Naseem and Haris's absence as they exited the 2023 Asia Cup dramatically, suffering a nail-biting last-ball defeat to Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday, September 15.
Naseem continues to be under the vigilant care of the team's medical panel, which is implementing all necessary measures with an eye on the 50-over World Cup 2023.
Pakistan is scheduled to kick off their World Cup campaign with a match against the Netherlands on October 6 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.