PakistanSports & Games

Babar Azam says Naseem Shah may miss a ‘couple’ of World Cup matches

As Pakistan gears up for the ICC World Cup 2023 in India next month, the team might face a setback with key players showing injury concerns.


Skipper Babar Azam, in a post-match press conference, revealed that Naseem Shah might sit out for a few matches during the World Cup. This comes after Naseem's shoulder injury during the Super 4 match against India in the Asia Cup 2023. He was subsequently advised by the medical panel to rest and is currently in Dubai for scans related to his injury.


“Naseem Shah will probably miss a couple of World Cup matches. The exact duration of his recovery remains uncertain, but I'm optimistic about his participation later in the World Cup,” said Babar.


Another point of concern is the fitness of fast bowler Haris Rauf. Although not ruled out like Naseem, Rauf was prevented from bowling against India as a precautionary measure due to a side strain. However, Babar remains hopeful. “Haris is on the mend. He's just nursing a minor side strain and should be fit before the World Cup,” he assured.


Babar Azam chose to remain tight-lipped regarding any backup plans, playfully teasing, "I'll reveal our Plan B later. I won't spill the beans now."


In light of the potential unavailability of the key pacers, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has enlisted Zaman Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani as stand-ins for Naseem and Haris.


In related news, Pakistan faced a tough loss against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023's virtual semi-final at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka played pivotal roles in Sri Lanka's thrilling victory, chasing down a revised target of 252 in a 42-overs-per-side contest. Sri Lanka managed to achieve the target on the last ball, with Asalanka delivering the match-winning shot at 1:07 am local time.


The left-handed Asalanka showcased a commendable performance under pressure, especially with Shaheen Shah Afridi clinching two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over. Mendis, with a partnership of 100 runs with Sadeera Samarawickrama, provided a strong foundation for Sri Lanka.


The outcome of this match was not just a mere result; it shattered the dreams of millions who were eagerly awaiting an India-Pakistan final. The Asia Cup 2023's grand finale will now witness Sri Lanka taking on India on Sunday, September 17, in Colombo.

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