Pakistan have been dealt a serious short-term blow with Mohammad Amir ruled out of bowling in the ongoing second Test as well as the one-day series against Sri Lanka. Amir picked up a stress-related injury of his right shin and has been advised rest for the next two to three weeks.
Amir initially went off the field towards the end of the first evening of the Test, halfway through his 17th over. He was under observation overnight as the management initially said he was suffering from pain in his left shin.
He arrived with the team for the second day and came on to bowl in the 11th over of the afternoon. But after struggling through three overs, during which he looked visibly troubled and at one stage required an ice pack, he went off again. This time he was taken for an MRI scan, which revealed the extent of the injury to his right shin.
The sequence of events will raise questions about why he wasn't taken for a scan earlier and why he was allowed to bowl at all on the second day.
"The fast bowler has been advised two to three weeks rest after he underwent an MRI scan today following complains of pain in his right shin," a PCB statement said. "Amir will not bowl in the ongoing Test match at the Dubai Cricket Stadium but would be available to bat."
That leaves Pakistan, already struggling with the ball in this Test, a bowler short going ahead - with only one specialist spinner and with Wahab Riaz enduring his own problems at one stage with his run-up. Their chances of rescuing their unbeaten home record of ten years, and seven in the UAE, stand considerably reduced.
It also caps a miserable tour for Amir, who went wicketless in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, and picked up just one in the first innings here. He bowled well in brief patches, though coaching staff were concerned with his inability to find fuller lengths.
The impact on Pakistan's Test side will not be so important beyond this match - Pakistan do not play another Test until May next year when they tour England for a two-Test series. But his absence in the five-match ODI and three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka will be felt.
He was their standout bowler in the Champions Trophy final in June against India, a three-wicket burst at the top of the order instrumental in Pakistan's win. And he has, since his return from a five-year ban, made a substantial contribution to the 50-over side, taking 30 wickets in 21 ODIs.