Asia Cup 2023: Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah's participation in jeopardy for rest of the tournament
In a major blow to Pakistan's Asia Cup desires, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah could well be rested for the remainder of the tournament owing to their probable injuries.
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In nail-biting clashes going on during the ongoing Asia Cup, the participation of Pakistani pace sensations Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah hangs in the balance, casting a shadow over their team's prospects in the tournament. These two fiery bowlers sustained injuries during a high-intensity Super Four encounter against arch-rivals India in Colombo.
Pakistan's bowling coach, the former South African speedster Morne Morkel, shed light on the situation, confirming that Haris Rauf had started feeling discomfort in his oblique muscle the night before. Following a scan, it was revealed that he was battling inflammation, which has raised concerns about his fitness.
As for Naseem Shah, the young pacer had previously experienced a shoulder niggle while fielding, and during the match against India, he complained of the same issue. Remarkably, Naseem managed to bowl nine overs, displaying immense resilience. However, Morkel emphasized that, in Haris Rauf's case, a cautious approach was adopted, given the impending World Cup just around the corner. Morkel noted that alternative options within the squad would need to step up to fill the bowling void left by Rauf's potential absence.
In response to these developments, Pakistan has called up reinforcements in the form of Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan as backup options for the injured duo. Importantly, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) clarified that Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah have not been definitively ruled out of the Asia Cup and will continue to be closely monitored by the team's medical staff.
"This is only a precautionary measure keeping in mind the fitness and well-being of the players ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup next month. Haris and Naseem will continue to remain under the observation of the team's medical panel. The team management will only request a replacement from the ACC technical committee if Naseem or Haris are ruled out for the next seven days," PCB said in a statement.
India thumps Pakistan with an all-round performance
Amidst this uncertainty surrounding the Pakistani pace duo, the Super Four showdown between India and Pakistan delivered a riveting contest that unfolded over two gripping days. Batting first, India displayed their batting prowess by amassing a colossal total of 356 for the loss of a mere two wickets. The dynamic duo of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul led the charge with magnificent centuries, notching up an unbeaten 122 and 111, respectively.
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In response, Pakistan's batting lineup crumbled under the relentless pressure exerted by the formidable Indian bowling attack. Kuldeep Yadav emerged as the hero for India, claiming a sensational five-wicket haul, while other bowlers chipped in with vital breakthroughs.