T20 World Cup: Fakhar Zaman out for next match, possibly more
In another blow to an already underwhelming T20 World Cup campaign, top-order batsman Fakhar Zaman has been ruled out of Pakistan’s next match against South Africa due to aggravating a knee injury he has been battling for some time. There is also the risk that he may miss more than just one game.
The hard-hitting southpaw had injured his knee after an uncomfortable landing while fielding in the Asia Cup 2022 final defeat to Sri Lanka on September 11. The PCB had arranged his rehabilitation in London along with pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who was also battling a knee injury at the same time.
However, Zaman aggravated his injury in his very first game back from the injury against the Netherlands on Sunday. The injury came on the second ball of the sixth over when Zaman dived to complete a run. The team’s physio rushed on the field after Fakhar was slow to get up. However, he stayed in the game until dismissed, making 20 runs of 16 balls.
Now, a statement by PCB’s medical chief Dr. Najeebullah Soomro has revealed that he will not be able to participate in Sunday’s game.
“From a medical point of view we were confident he was completely fit,” Dr. Soomro was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com. However, the doctor admitted that playing a game requires more than just medical fitness on paper.
The PCB did not announce Zaman’s replacement immediately. His spot might be given back to Asif Ali, who was dropped for the last match. In a campaign marred mainly by batting woes, this seems to be a step back for the team.
Pakistan’s semifinal hopes are already hanging by a thread, after starting the campaign with back to back defeats against India and Zimbabwe. The win against the Netherlands, though comprehensive, has done little to improve Pakistan team’s chances, who now need results from other teams to go their way to qualify.
Pakistan will play South Africa in their fourth group match on Thursday in Sydney.
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