Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah is facing the grim prospect of missing the entire ODI World Cup due to a more severe right shoulder injury than initially thought.
Naseem’s injury occurred during Pakistan’s second game against India at the recent Asia Cup, forcing him to leave the field during the 46th over. Subsequent scans revealed damage to a muscle just below his bowling shoulder. This injury is not a recurrence of any previous shoulder issues, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is seeking a second opinion to confirm the extent of the injury.
If the secondary scans confirm the initial diagnosis, Naseem may face an extended period of recovery, raising doubts about his participation in the Test series in Australia and potentially causing him to miss the next Pakistan Super League. This setback is a significant blow for Pakistan, as Naseem has evolved into an all-format bowler and a vital part of their bowling unit, alongside Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
The PCB is expected to announce an official decision once the results from the secondary scans are available in a few days. However, they have released a statement on Naseem’s injury.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board’s medical team has been monitoring the status of Naseem Shah’s shoulder injury sustained during the Asia Cup 2023. Medical consultations with the experts are underway to provide the best possible care to Naseem. The PCB medical panel will decide on the fast bowler’s return to cricket based on further assessments,” PCB stated in press release
During Naseem’s absence in the Asia Cup, he was replaced by Zaman Khan, but Mohammad Hasnain, another potential replacement, is also currently dealing with an injury.
In his early international career, Naseem experienced injury challenges, including a back injury that kept him out of cricket for 14 months and a shoulder injury on his debut in the County Championship with Gloucestershire. Despite these setbacks, Naseem has become a crucial bowler for Pakistan in all formats, with an impressive record of 32 wickets in 14 ODI matches, averaging just under 17.