Former Pakistan captain and current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has revealed that star speedster Naseem Shah will be out for not just the entire World Cup in India, but also for a bit more.
This is a massive blow to Pakistan as Naseem was arguably their best bowler across any phase of the innings. His right shoulder injury proved to be worse than expected, according to Inzamam.
"Unfortunately, the report we have from our doctors, we hear Naseem will be out for a longer time than just the World Cup. At this time, he was the world's best bowler in my view. It's a loss for Pakistan and we hope he's fit soon."
Inzamam-ul-Haq also gave an update on Haris Rauf's fitness:
“We were forced to make one change because of an unfortunate injury to Naseem Shah. We had a few injury scares in the recent Asia Cup, but I am glad to share that all the players are fully fit and are eager to perform for their country in the all-important tournament.
"I have received encouraging reports from our medical panel about Haris Rauf. He has started to (shadow) bowl at the National Cricket Academy and will be available for selection."
Inzamam-ul-Haq on likes of Sarfaraz Ahmed missing out
Inzamam-ul-Haq was also asked about experienced players like Sarfaraz Ahmed and Imad Wasim missing out from the World Cup squad. The chief selector pointed out the importance of performing well in domestic cricket and claimed that no one has been overlooked by the team just for the sake of it.
On this, Inzamam added:
"Although I am the selector, I haven't closed the doors on anyone. All these are good players. But we have made sure this time that the performances in domestic cricket in Pakistan will also hold value. It will help our first class cricket get better as well.
"So the doors are never closed on anyone. If they perform in domestic cricket here and if Pakistan needs, they will be back in the squad and this is true for everyone."
It will be interesting to see how Pakistan cope with Naseem Shah's loss in the World Cup.
Pakistan's squad for 2023 World Cup: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc) Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Hasan Ali.
Travelling reserves: Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan, Mohammad Haris.