Asia Cup, Ind vs Pak – Side strain keeps Haris Rauf away from action on reserve day

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Haris Rauf hasn’t taken the field against India on Monday’s reserve day in the Asia Cup Super Four game in Colombo after feeling “a little discomfort in his right flank” on Sunday’s scheduled match day. Only 24.1 overs were bowled on Sunday before rain pushed the game into the spare day.

The extent of Rauf’s injury is not clear. The PCB statement that confirmed the injury said, “He was subsequently taken for a precautionary MRI, which revealed no tear. He is under the observation of the team’s medical panel.”

Morne Morkel, Pakistan’s bowling coach, said on the official broadcast that Rauf had “pulled an oblique muscle” and with the ODI World Cup around the corner, “we’re going to put him on ice” for the moment. Morkel also said that Rauf had started feeling discomfort when he bowled his second over on Sunday.

As a result, for the rest of the India innings in Colombo, Pakistan will have to make do with the three pace options in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Faheem Ashraf, with Shadab Khan their lead spinner and a combination of Iftikhar Ahmed and Agha Salman’s part-time offspin.

Rauf bowled five wicketless overs and conceded 27 runs on Sunday but brought some sense of control to an innings in which India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scored half-centuries and put on 121 in a flying start. Pakistan fought back to dismiss both and control the run rate but India were 147 on board for the loss of two wickets.

Rauf’s absence will be a cause of concern for Pakistan, given how significant a part he has become of Pakistan’s bowling attack. He has been Pakistan’s in-form bowler, and crucial at first change after Afridi and Naseem. He is also the tournament’s joint-leading wicket-taker with nine wickets in four matches.

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