While not being initially in the squad, Fakhar Zaman was brought into the squad at the eleventh hour, as a late replacement for the injured Usman Qadir. Zaman was not part of the proceedings for the Men in Green during their first two clashes against India and Zimbabwe. However, the left-hander made a return to the setup for the Netherlands encounter.
But during the game, the southpaw endured further pain with his knee, which has eventually now ruled him out of the must-win fixture against South Africa, and possibly the entire tournament. Pakistan’s team doctor Najeebullah Soomro admitted that the management was aware of the risks that was associated with the southpaw’s comeback.
"We were aware of the risks of the (Fakhar) comeback. He is obviously an important player for the team. The player, the medical staff and the team management were aware of that. We decided to bring him back in. In cricket, and any sport, we take risks. Sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don't,” Najeebullah said.
"Fakhar and the team understood the risks of coming into the tournament and we got him in. You saw how he performed with batting in the last match, unfortunately in the last match he had a bit of a twist which aggravated his injury,” he added.
There is a strong possibility that Pakistan could go back to Asif Ali, after the batter found himself out of the playing XI against Zimbabwe and then Netherlands. However, Najeebullah insisted that Shaheen Afridi passed all the tests that were needed to be fit for the tournament.
"From a medical point of view we were confident he (Shaheen) was completely fit. You can see how he's improving every single game…from our point of view we are very confident with how he's going. In my view, the medical team, the specialists in involved, have all worked really hard with him, day and night, and from a medical point of view we are confident he's back in full flow."
Naseem Shah, who is a vital cog of this Pakistani unit insisted that the team has to move on from the defeat against India, while agreeing that the conditions in Australia have helped them thus far in the tournament.
"You have to move on. The boys have gelled together and the morale of the team is alright. We are trying to focus on the next games and win those because you cannot do anything about the past games,” Naseem said.
“Yeah, as a fast bowler you need to bowl your best everywhere in the world. We're all fast bowlers just trying to bowl our best because when you bowl bad anywhere, when you bowl a bad ball, then you are in a struggle. So you need your good ball everywhere.”