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News

Naseem Shah under injury cloud ahead of Multan Test

This increases the chances of a debut for Mohammad Wasim jnr as Pakistan attempt to level the series against England

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
08-Dec-2022
Naseem Shah is under an injury cloud  •  PCB

Naseem Shah is under an injury cloud  •  PCB

Naseem Shah's availability for the second Test against England in Multan is in significant doubt with an ongoing shoulder niggle, first sighted during the Rawalpindi game. This has put a further strain on Pakistan's pace bowling resources, as they are already without Shaheen Shah Afridi and Harris Rauf, who debuted in the first Test but injured his quad and is now out of the series.
Naseem was Pakistan's standout bowler in Rawalpindi, but with the rest of an attack pummelled by England's batters, his five wickets made minimal impact. At one point in England's first innings though, he threw in a ball from the boundary awkwardly, as if protecting the shoulder. He continued bowling through the rest of the Test, however, holding his shoulder occasionally but looking largely untroubled. The niggle has carried into Multan, however, and Naseem didn't bowl at all in training on Thursday.
Pakistan had toyed with the idea of calling up Hasan Ali after Rauf was ruled out but have ultimately decided against it. It increases the chances of a debut for Mohammad Wasim jnr who along with Mohammad Ali - who debuted in Rawalpindi - are the only specialist fast bowlers left in the squad. Pakistan do also have Faheem Ashraf, the allrounder whose bowling has often shored up their pace attacks. Wasim has only played seven first-class matches and like Rauf - who had played eight first-class games before debut - has been a more regular part of Pakistan's white-ball teams.
Babar Azam said at today's press conference in Multan he expected the pitch to take turn, and Pakistan are expected to rely heavily on spin for wickets during this Test. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan only played one spinner in Zahid Mehmood, but are expected to field allrounder Mohammad Nawaz as well as legspinner Abrar Ahmed in Multan. Left arm orthodox spinner Nauman Ali is also part of the squad.
Naseem sustained a similar shoulder injury during a stint in the County Championship in April, only bowling 11 overs on his Gloucestershire debut before suffering the injury. It was to remain his only County Championship involvement all season.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000