Not too long ago, Pakistan were the world number 1 ranked ICC ODI team. But two losses – both by contrasting margins, but both equally heart-breaking – in the Asia Cup 2023 saw them getting dropped to the number 3 spot.
At the moment, though, Babar Azam and his boys and the PCB wouldn’t be thinking too much about losing their ODI number 1 ranking crown as much as that they failed to reach the final of the Asia Cup 2023, and also that they are now concerned about the fitness and injuries to Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah.
While earlier the Pakistan pace-bowling attack comprising Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah was hailed as the best in the world by many, injuries to Rauf and Naseem exposed their lack of bench strength with Zaman Khan and Mohammad Wasim Jr not standing up to the task while Shahnawaz Dahani also wouldn’t have made much difference. All three backup pacers are also inexperienced in ODIs.
But, anyway, coming to the matter at hand, can Pakistan still reach the Asia Cup 2023 final despite losing their Super 4 matches to India and Sri Lanka.
Can Pakistan still reach the final of Asia Cup 2023?
Yes, funnily, Pakistan can still reach the venue of the final of Asia Cup 2023 – R.Premadasa Stadium – to only watch the game, not participate in it though.
On a more serious note, Pakistan have been dealt a big blow as Babar Azam, the Pakistani skipper, hinted that Naseem Shah might miss the initial part of the World Cup 2023 as well due to the right shoulder injury he suffered during the match vs India. Haris Rauf, though, is likely to be fit by next month.
Babar said: “Yes, Haris Rauf is not bad. He’s just got a little bit of a side strain, but he’s recovering before the World Cup. Naseem Shah also… they have a couple of miss matches, I don’t know [how long] the recovery [is], but in my opinion, Naseem Shah also [will be] in the World Cup later on. But let’s see.”
Pakistan will next play two warm-up matches on September 29 vs New Zealand and October 3 vs Australia. Their first match in the World Cup is on October 6 vs Netherlands.