Pakistan's cricket fraternity was dealt a severe blow today as it emerged that fast-bowling sensation Naseem Shah is likely to miss the entire ODI World Cup due to a shoulder injury.
Initial scans conducted in Dubai have revealed that the injury is more serious than initially suspected, raising concerns about his availability not only for the World Cup but also for the upcoming tour of Australia.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is currently seeking a second opinion on the matter, but the preliminary scans have indicated that Naseem could be sidelined for the remainder of the year.
This development has cast doubt on his participation in the crucial Test series against Australia and the next edition of the Pakistan Super League.
Unforeseen setback at Asia Cup
Naseem Shah's injury occurred during Pakistan's second game against India at the Asia Cup last week. He walked off the field during the 46th over, and subsequently, he was ruled out of the tournament.
The injury, which affects a muscle just below his bowling shoulder, is not believed to be a recurrence of any previous shoulder issues.
The absence of Naseem Shah from the ODI World Cup and the subsequent Australia tour will be a significant setback for Pakistan. Over the past year, Naseem has transitioned from being a red-ball specialist to an all-format bowler, becoming a vital component of Pakistan's formidable fast-bowling trio, alongside Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
PCB seeks second opinion
The PCB is expected to make an official announcement once they receive the results of the secondary scans, which are scheduled to take place in the coming days.
In Naseem's absence, Zaman Khan was called up to replace him in the Asia Cup, while Mohammad Hasnain, another potential replacement, is currently sidelined due to injury.
The cricketing world waits with bated breath for further updates on Naseem Shah's injury, hoping for a swift recovery for the talented young bowler.