Colombo: Pakistan captain Babar Azam has cast doubts over fast bowler Naseem Shah’s chances of recovering in time for the opening matches of the upcoming World Cup in India. The captain, however, said his top fast bowler Haris Rauf is “recovering well” from a hamstring strain and will be fit for the team’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6.
Both these fast bowlers were injured during Pakistan’s Super Four match against India in the Asia Cup. On Thursday, when the team took the field against Sri Lanka, both these players were sitting in the dressing room. Pakistan was eliminated from the tournament after losing to Sri Lanka in this Super Four stage match in Colombo.
Naseem has suffered a right shoulder injury and the Pakistan Cricket Board has not released any official timeline regarding his rehabilitation, due to which Babar has expressed uncertainty about his fitness in the initial matches of the World Cup. Babar said after the match against Sri Lanka, “I will tell you about this later.” Haris Rauf’s situation is not that bad. He has a muscle strain but he will recover from this injury before the World Cup.
He said, “Naseem Shah is also recovering from injury. He is not available for some matches. I don’t yet know the severity of the injury and the timeline for recovery from it. Naseeb will be available for the subsequent matches of the Worlds. Let’s see what happens.” Naseem has a long association with injuries. Even when he was 17 years old, he stayed away from the game for 14 months due to a back injury. After recovering from this injury, he got injured again while playing against the county team Gloucestershire.
At the beginning of his career, Naseem was seen as a Test specialist bowler but soon he proved himself in all three formats and emerged as Pakistan’s main fast bowler. In ODIs, he has 32 wickets in 14 matches at an average of just 17. Before the World Cup, Pakistan now has to play practice matches against New Zealand (29 September) and Australia (3 October).