Pakistan has suffered a major injury blow ahead of their Test series against South Africa starting on December 2018. According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, Fakhar Zaman, the team’s dynamic left-handed opener, could miss the tour to South Africa due to a knee injury he sustained in the three-match Twenty20 International series against Australia. The Pakistan Cricket Board has said Fakhar could be out for close to five weeks as he recovers from the injury. This puts him in doubt for the first Test starting on Boxing Day in Centurion but clarity on his availability for the remainder of the tour is uncertain.
Fakhar sustained the knee injury during the first Twenty20 International against Australia in Abu Dhabi. During Australia’s chase, the left-handed batsman swooped from mid-off, tumbled to the ground and threw under-arm at the non-striker’s end to catch Ben McDermott short of the crease. Pakistan went on to win the match and the series 3-0.
Following the end of the match, the Pakistan player complained of pain in his knee but he managed to play the ODIs against New Zealand, smashing two fifties as the series ended 1-1. However, the growing concern over the state of his injury resulted in his exclusion from the Test squad against the Kiwis.
Fakhar’s latest injury increases the tension for the Pakistan cricket team, who are without their pace ace Mohammad Abbas for the third Test and is also facing a race against time to be fit for the South Africa Tests. Initially, Abbas’ shoulder injury prompted reports that he could be out of action for close to four months but the scans have dispelled those fears.
The 28-year-old has made a great start in cricket for Pakistan. His 114 played a big part in Pakistan beating India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. In his Test debut in October, he made 94 and 68 as Pakistan beat Australia by 373 runs to win the series 1-0.
Pakistan are not the only team plagued with injuries. South Africa are also missing the services of Lungi Ngidi, who has been sidelined with a knee injury for around 12 weeks, ruling him out of the Tests against Pakistan. Ngidi injured his knee while fielding in a Twenty20 International victory over Australia on Sunday and scans revealed ligament damage.
Pakistan will play the deciding Test against New Zealand on December 3 at Abu Dhabi.