Injuries rock Pakistan ahead of South Africa tour
Pakistan is currently playing New Zealand in a Test series in the UAE. The series is tied at 1-1 and the deciding clash is set to begin on December 3.
After the New Zealand series is wrapped up, Pakistan will fly off to South Africa for a challenging away tour comprising three Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is.
In recent times, Pakistan has been giving plenty of chances to newer and younger players in their squad. Such an approach has worked wonders for the team as most newcomers have performed well at the international level.
Players like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Imam-ul-Haq and Muhammad Abbas have excelled at the international level. However, they have also had their fair share of injuries which have kept them away from important assignments.
The story of injuries is set to continue into Pakistan’s next few matches and could cause a headache for the National Selection Committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Pakistan’s star opening batsman Fakhar Zaman is suffering from a knee injury which forced him to miss the Test series against the Kiwis. The left-hander has further aggravated the injury which will continue to keep him out of action.
According to PCB, Zaman is expected to be out for "three to five" weeks, which makes it all but certain that he will miss the last Test against New Zealand and the first Test against South Africa that begins on December 26 in Centurion.
Pakistan fret over spearhead Abbas
On the other hand, Pakistan’s newest pace sensation Mohammad Abbas has also injured his shoulder. He will most certainly miss the deciding test against New Zealand at Abu Dhabi. He had strained his shoulder while diving in the field during the second Test at Dubai.
Shadab Khan, who suffered a groin injury earlier, was rested for the three-match Test series against the Kiwis to regain full fitness. His condition is still uncertain and could cause more difficulties for Pakistan as they will want their best squad to be ready for the tour of South Africa.
With Pakistan set to participate in crucial Test matches, the team will need to regroup quickly and try to make do with the available resources. Mohammad Hafeez, who has failed to perform since his century against Australia at Dubai, will most likely find his place in the team once again in the absence of Fakhar Zaman.
Meanwhile, Shaheen Shah Afridi could make his Test debut against the Kiwis at Abu Dhabi. The young left-arm fast bowler has burst into the national side with impressive results in ODIs and T20Is.
Pakistan will want Shaheen to make an impact as he replaces the ever-reliable Mohammad Abbas. A strong performance from the tall pacer should bolster his standing before the squad for South Africa tour is announced.