Lahore September 15 2023 :Pakistan captain Babar Azam has refused to declare whether key pacers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf will be fit for the start of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup next month.
The pair picked up niggling injuries during Pakistan Super Four clash against India at the Asia Cup and were sitting on from the sidelines when the side crashed out of the tournament against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday.
Inexperienced duo Zaman Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani deputised for the injured duo during that match and could be in contention to play at the World Cup should Naseem and Rauf not recover in time.
Teams have until September 28 to submit their squads to the ICC for the six-week tournament and may only alter their 15-player groups after that date with permission from the event organisers.
While Babar is hopeful that both Naseem and Rauf will recover in time for Pakistan's World Cup opener against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6, the skipper was not giving too much away when quizzed on contingency plans should the pair miss out.
"I'll tell you later," Babar said.
"Not telling you our Plan B now. But 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, but in my opinion, Naseem Shah also (will be) in the World Cup later on. But let's see."
Pakistan have no official 50-over matches prior to the start of the World Cup, although they do have two warm-up matches scheduled against New Zealand (September 29) and Australia (October 3) that do not hold official ODI status.