The Cricket World Cup 2023 is only a few weeks away and the teams are in the final stages of their preparation. For the Asian teams, the Asia Cup presented a brilliant opportunity to test the mettle and combination against the very best. However, for the Babar Azam-led Pakistan cricket team the Asia Cup came as a dampener. First, they lost their rights to be the full hosts of the continental event. Then they finished last the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup after losses to India and Sri Lanka. Now, their star pacer Naseem Shah is likely to miss the Cricket World Cup for an injury that he suffered during the Asia Cup Super 4 match against India.
According to a report in the ESPN Cricinfo, scans on the fast bowler’s right shoulder have indicated that he may not be fit in time for the Cricket World Cup. The report further added that if the secondary scan results is similar to the initial scan, then Naseem will be on a length injury-induced break.
Naseem had walked off the field in the 46th over in the Super 4 game against India. He did not come out out bat.
Pakistan’s hopes of clinching the Asia Cup 2023 title were crushed on Thursday as the Babar Azam-led side lost a must-win match against Sri Lanka. Opting to bat first, Pakistan posted 252/7 in 42 overs (due to rain) Mohammad Rizwan scoring an unbeaten 86. However, Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka‘s fiery batting performance, took Sri Lanka across the line on the last ball of the match, with two wickets in hands. After the heartbreaking elimination, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi criticised their poor team selection.
Afridi lashed out at Pakistan’s management for not experimenting with their line-up and not benching players Shadab Khan, who are unable to deliver their best performances.
“This is an age-old problem. India are playing in Asia Cup, I’ve seen changes in almost every game in their team. They’ve rested seniors, played juniors, it shows that they are preparing for the World Cup. These decisions are very important, you select a 15-member squad because the players are bench are as good as those in XI. You shouldn’t have a problem with resting the first-choice players,” Afridi said on Samaa TV.
“If Shadab is rested, Osama Mir is there. He has performed well for Pakistan in the past. If someone isn’t performing in quite some matches, you should rest him. I’m not saying that drop him from the 15-member squad, you can keep him in the team and still rest him. Let him have sessions with head coach and bowling coach. I don’t know what are our plans, really,” he added.
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