Pakistan suffered a stinging setback on Monday ahead of their Test tours of Ireland and England after key leg-spinner Yasir Shah was ruled out with a hip bone injury.
Yasir Shah has been ruled out of the series against Ireland and England as he suffered a groin fracture last week. The 31-year-old has been key to Pakistan’s Test wins since 2014, having taken 165 wickets in 28 Test matches.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq confirmed the spinner will not be available for the tours.
“Yasir is ruled out of the Ireland and England Test tours and it’s a big blow,” Inzamam told local media. “It’s a big loss for the team.”
Medical reports said Yasir suffered a hip bone stress fracture and needs four weeks’ rest in addition to another six for rehabilitation.
Inzamam said Pakistan had called on teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan, off-spinner Bilal Asif and left-arm slow bowler Kashif Bhatti to fill in the gap.
Shadab has taken just one wicket in a single Test appearance in Barbados last year, while the others have yet to play a Test.
Yasir has taken 89 wickets in 16 of the 17 Tests Pakistan have played under head coach Mickey Arthur since May 2016. He took a match-winning 10 wickets in Pakistan’s victory at Lord’s in 2016 on their way to a 2-2 series draw in England.
The 31 year old leg-spinner missed the fitness test being held at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore along with spin-bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim and fast-bowler Sohail Khan, who are also injured.
Several Pakistan Super League (PSL) stars have also been invited to the fitness tests, with 17-year-old Lahore Qalanadars pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi joining the Islamabad United batting trio of Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Sahibzada Farhan.
Oft-ignored middle-order batsman Fawad Alam is also part of the fitness tests but his chances of selection for the national squad seem slim despite his continued stellar performances in domestic cricket.
The team for the Test matches will be announced after the fitness tests.