Should secondary results back up the initial ones, Naseem could be looking at a long layoff. His participation in the Test series in Australia at the turn of the year is in doubt, and he could also miss the next Pakistan Super League in 2024.
Naseem’s absence from the World Cup, as well as the subsequent series in Australia, will come as a huge blow for Pakistan. Over the past year, Naseem has gone from a red-ball specialist to an all-format bowler for Pakistan, and on current form is the best of Pakistan’s much-vaunted triumvirate of Naseem, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
The PCB is expected to make an official decision once it has results from his secondary scans in a few days. He was replaced at the Asia Cup by Zaman Khan, while Mohammad Hasnain, another possible replacement, is currently also injured.
Naseem has had injury issues in these early stages of his career. A back injury he sustained one year into his international career, when he was 17, kept him out of cricket for 14 months. Six weeks after his return, he was sidelined for a month with a shoulder injury he suffered on his debut in the County Championship with Gloucestershire.
In the 18 months since, his workload has increased significantly. While he was only a red-ball player at the time, Naseem has become a crucial bowler for Pakistan across all formats. He is their most potent bowler since making his ODI debut, with 32 wickets in 14 matches while averaging just under 17.