Tue, 31 Jan 2023

Multan [Pakistan], December 8 (ANI): Naseem Shah's participation in the second Test against England in Multan hangs by a thread after the pacer was reported to be carrying a lingering shoulder niggle.

The speedster's injury has added to the team's woes as Pakistan's fast-bowling resources are already depleted due to the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Harris Rauf.

Rauf, who injured his quadriceps, has been ruled out of the series.

In Rawalpindi, Naseem was Pakistan's star bowler, but with the rest of the attack being pummeled by England's batters. His five wickets had little impact.

However, during England's first innings, he threw in the ball from the boundary seemingly in discomfort, as if shielding his shoulder.

He bowled in the rest of the Test, gripping his shoulder sometimes but mostly appearing unconcerned. The injury turned grave following Naseem's arrival at Multan. He did not bowl in training on Thursday.

Pakistan considered calling up Hasan Ali after Rauf was ruled out but finally opted against it. It enhances the possibility of Mohammad Wasim Jnr making his debut, as he and Mohammad Ali, who made his debut in Rawalpindi, are the only specialist fast bowlers left in the squad.

Pakistan also has Faheem Ashraf, an allrounder whose bowling has complemented its pace attack. Wasim has only played seven first-class matches and, like Rauf, who had played eight first-class games before his debut, has been a regular starter in Pakistan's white ball setup.

England defeated Pakistan in the first test in a thrilling counter, by 74 runs. Pakistan's loss to England in the first Test pushed the Asian side further down in the campaign to play in next year's World Test Championship final at The Oval.

Australia is in pole position to reach next year's final, as they lead the rankings with a 72.73 win percentage, while Pakistan is fifth with a 46.67 win percentage.

Pakistan still has two Tests against England at home before hosting New Zealand in a two-Test series between the Christmas and New Year holidays. (ANI)

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