An extra rest day before the Champions Trophy final on Sunday could prove to be vital for Pakistan’s bowling attack given a series of injuries that struck them before and during their Wednesday’s semi-final against England. Mohammad Amir was left out of the all-important clash after he suffered a back spasm while Hasan Ali, who is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far, and Imad Wasim also displayed sign of discomfort during their eight-wicket triumph over the tournament hosts.
Amir failed to recover in time for the match after being given an injection to overcome the back spasm, and was subsequently declared unfit to play. But his exclusion didn’t hurt Pakistan as his replacement Rumman Raees returned figures of 2-44. Hasan Ali appeared to have suffered a shin problem while Imad Wasim tweaked his calf while fielding.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said it would be a boost to have Amir fully-fit before Sunday’s final and that they way youngers are performing is good for the country’s cricket future.
“Hopefully, he will recover for the finals,” Sarfraz said. “Obviously, he’s our main bowler. He’s our best strike bowler.”
“I think he has a little bit of a shin problem, but he’s okay and bowling extremely well for us,” Sarfraz said. “I’m very happy about my youngsters performing, especially Hasan who is improving day-by-day, Shadab has also and now Fakhar Zaman, he’s playing in his third match and now he’s batting just like a champion batsman.
“You cannot overstate how well they’ve done. We must give credit to the selection committee for selecting these players from the domestic circuit and their performances in the PSL. But even more credit goes to these boys who came into the team under such extreme pressure.”
Sarfraz also lauded the way Pakistan have changed their fortunes following the drubbing they took in their opening match of the tournament against India.
“I have to give credit to my whole team, the team management and because the way we’ve come back after the India match, everybody deserves a credit there. I think we also need to credit the selection committee because they supported us throughout. They gave us the guys we wanted to see in the side. Now, I can hope that our team will get much more support in the times to come. And if you do get that sort of support, I am very confident that this side will perform very well in the future.” he said.
Pakistan will play arch-rivals India — whom they had suffered a humiliating defeat against in Birmingham last week – in the tournament decider at The Oval on Sunday (June 18).
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