Pakistan captain Babar Azam has given the hint at right-arm fast bowler Naseem Shah missing the first few matches of the 2023 World Cup. He revealed after Pakistan were knocked out of Asia Cup 2023 on Thursday. Naseem’s shoulder injury, which he sustained during the Super 4 clash against India, caused him to miss the all-important match against Sri Lanka. Hence, the management called up Zaman Khan as an injury replacement as well.
At a post-match press conference, Babar Azam added, “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 miss 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.”
Meanwhile, Haris Rauf, who earned the Player of the Match award in the Asia Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh for his four wickets, felt ‘discomfort in his right plink’ during the India match as well. As a result, he did not bowl on the reserve day against Team India as well.
During the post-match presentation, Babar Azam said: “We just decided to bowl our best overs and asked Shaheen to bowl the second last over and believed in Zaman. Sri Lanka played very well, better cricket than us. We have not been up to the mark in the bowling and fielding. That is why we lost the match. In the middle overs, we did not bowl well. That partnership cost us. We started well, ended well, but middle overs were not great. We have lacked that.”
Notably, India and Sri Lanka will play in the Asia Cup 2023 final on Sunday in Colombo as well.