Get every cricket updates! Follow us on
The young Pakistani pacer Naseem Shah is a major doubt for the second Test against England starting in Multan on Friday (December 9). Naseem suffered a minor shoulder niggle during the Rawalpindi Test but bowled in both the innings, grabbing five wickets. He was spotted comforting his shoulder while bowling and also missed the entire training session on Thursday.
This comes as a major blow to Pakistan’s chances to level the series. The Asian giants suffered a 74-run defeat in the first Test match in Rawalpindi as England produced another excellent example of their aggressive approach in red-ball cricket. Both teams managed to score 500-plus totals in their respective first innings but the Pakistani team stumbled on just 268 runs while chasing a 343-run target.
The 19-year-old Naseem has been a regular part of Pakistan’s Test squad, having picked 38 wickets from 14 matches. Naseem’s absence will potentially boost Mohammad Wasim’s chances for a Test debut, who remains the only specialist pace option alongside last match’s debutant Mohammad Ali.
Meanwhile, Pakistan lost speedster Haris Rauf to a quad injury in the first innings of the last match. Rauf made his Test debut in Rawalpindi and bowled 13 overs in the first innings but didn’t return to bowl during the second innings and later got ruled out of the entire series. With the star pacer Shaheen Afridi already missing the series with a knee injury, Pakistan’s pace unit looks thin ahead of the Multan Test.
But the Multan pitch is expected to be spin-friendly and that can prove beneficial for the hosts. In the pre-match press conference, Pakistani captain Babar Azam stated that they are expecting a lot of turn on the Multan pitch and will rely on spinners for the wickets. Pakistan handed a Test debut to the 34-year-old leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood in the last match and have Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali and Abrar Ahmed in the ranks as quality spin options.