Cricket

Naseem Shah Out of The World Cup: Whose mistake?

Naseem Shah’s exclusion from the ICC World Cup 2023, as well as potential absence from the upcoming Australia-Pakistan series and PSL, is deeply disheartening, disillusioning, and disgruntling. This situation goes beyond what meets the eye.

The PTI folks falsely attribute the dropping of Naseem Shah posting his picture posing alongside Imran Khan’s portrait (who is currently disliked in the Adhoc setup and there are investigations being undertaken by the caretaker Government). Remember, Naseem Shah’s father is an authoritative figure in JUI-F. 

If that is the case then why is Shaheen Shah playing in the world cup?

It’s possible that there were misconceptions, given that he sustained a peculiar injury while diving to save a boundary against Afghanistan.

The stats aren’t encouraging for his replacement Hassan Ali who did not perform well alongside Muhammad Wasim Jnr in the first World Cup 2023 warm-up match.

Allow me to remind you of a Test match against England in Rawalpindi, where Nasim first expressed discomfort in his shoulder. So, we might be dealing with an exacerbation of a partially healed, long-standing shoulder injury (potentially related to the rotator cuff, impingement syndrome, muscle or bone damage, or the presence of a loose body, among other possibilities).

Was he accurately diagnosed? Was he provided with a comprehensive therapeutic, physiotherapeutic, and rehabilitation plan? Were his activity hours assessed, and was the cause of the injury determined? Was his workload evaluated in light of the type of injury, considering his upper body mechanics and type of bowling action?

That’s one aspect. Now, let’s revisit the Pakistan vs. England match in Rawalpindi from December 2022. Haris Rauf made his debut but unfortunately suffered a breakdown, leading him to not feature in a Test match since.

Now, let’s consider the period since July 2022. Only eight fast bowlers in international cricket have bowled more deliveries than Nasim (2246 balls), compared to the combined 2732 bowled by Haris and Shaheen Afridi. Were we focused on Nasim’s reintegration based on rehabilitation criteria, workload management, muscle memory development, repetitive exercises, or preserving him for major global commitments?

Now, let’s turn to the timeline provided by Mak Asif:

  • August 2022: Waseem Jr. was dropped from the Asia Cup due to a side strain.
  • August 2022: Despite a side strain in the Asia Cup, he played one game.
  • Rizwan suffered knee/back injuries in the Asia Cup and was subsequently dropped from the England home series.
  • September 2022: Fakhar was dropped from the England home series due to a knee injury.
  • October 2022: Hasan suffered a groin injury and was dropped from the tri-nation series against New Zealand.
  • September 2021: Yasir Shah was dropped from the Bangladesh series due to a knee injury.
  • June 2022: Shadab Khan was dropped from the Sri Lanka series due to a groin injury.
  • July 2022: Despite a knee injury, he was carried along, missing the Netherlands series and Asia Cup.

I’ve heard that Mohammad Hasnain is undergoing rehabilitation in the UK. Harris is dealing with a strained muscle and has been bowling mostly in pain, now in the process of recuperation. Shaheen’s premature introduction in the ICC World Cup T20 2022 led to a significant breakdown in the final. Although there was an attempt to attribute it to a new injury sustained while fielding, it was likely an exacerbation of a previously partially healed knee injury. It’s known that he was taken to the Netherlands by the team’s physiotherapist, Cliffe Deacon, against the advice of PCB’s medical panel.

Ihsanullah has not returned after his elbow injury, which occurred in April 2023 during the match against New Zealand. No one seems to be aware of his rehabilitation plan.

This is an evidence-based evaluation of the team’s medical staff and the PCB Medical Panel. What is PCB’s primary focus? What is their feedback mechanism? Why haven’t they been able to prioritize the establishment of a state-of-the-art medical panel and rehabilitation center? Why can’t we have integrated specialized teams? Why can’t we hire highly qualified medical professionals beyond diploma holders, and doctors with partial training, and why can’t we look beyond physiotherapists and conditioning coaches? Why can’t we implement scientific and medical data tracking, workload management, and feedback systems overseen by sports physiologists, sports medical experts, kinesiologists, and top-notch sports trainers?

Will Zaka Ashraf direct his attention towards seeking answers from Cliffe Deacon, Sohail Salim, and Drikus Saaiman? Will there be any form of accountability?

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