Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday with Mohammad Abbas unlikely to feature. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018
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Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

  • A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match
  • Fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed

LONDON: Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match, but fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed.
Abbas suffered the injury while diving to stop a ball in the field during his side’s victory over the Black Caps in Dubai earlier this week.
He was given painkillers to last through that second Test match, but a shoulder scan after the game showed the severity of the injury.
A shoulder specialist saw the scans and early assessments suggested Abbas could be out for a period of three weeks to four months.
But the injury was not as serious as initially thought and while Abu Dhabi would be too quick a return, experts believe he could be fit again in time for the first Test against South Africa, at Centurion on Boxing Day.
“Abbas underwent a scan on Wednesday which confirmed an injury to his shoulder,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said.
“He will undergo further clinical assessment before we make a final decision regarding his availability for the 3rd Test (in Abu Dhabi).”
The injury clearly had an impact on his performance in the second innings of the second Test, which marked the third innings in a row he had failed to take a wicket.
His brief drought is in stark contrast to the riches of his career since making his debut last year, a spell which has seen him become one of Pakistan’s most potent bowling options.
Abbas’ injury is likely to give another chance to Shaheen Afridi, the young left-arm fast bowler whose introduction into the Pakistan side has been a revelation, and whose performances have been of the highest quality results this season.
Pakistan are likely to protest Abbas for the South Africa series, especially as he represents their most lethal weapon in their bowling attack for years.
In South Africa, on surfaces perfectly primed for his talents, his contribution to the Pakistan cause against the Proteas will be crucial to Sarfaz Ahmed and his side’s chances of victory in a country where they have struggled to win Test matches.


Mohamed Salah sure Liverpool can handle the pressure of Premier League title tilt

Updated 7 min 44 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah sure Liverpool can handle the pressure of Premier League title tilt

  • Reds face Manchester United on Sunday in crouch clash.
  • Egyptian ace says Reds will embrace the pressure as they g in each of first top-flight title since 1990.

LONDON: Mohamed Salah is in no doubt Liverpool can handle the pressure of the title run in, ahead of their crunch clash against arch-rivals Manchester United.
The Reds lie second in the Premier League table to Manchester City on goal difference, though with a game in hand. It was barely a month ago that they enjoyed a seven-point lead over the Abu Dhabi-owed club, but draws against Leicester and West Ham raised fears that Liverpool were starting to feel the strain of bidding for a first top-flight title since 1990.
But Salah has sought to put fans’ fears at ease, claiming the Reds are ready to embrace the pressure, starting away at Old Trafford against familiar foe United.
“I said in November that there is pressure and it will be there until the end of the season, because when you play for the Premier League you have to accept that there is pressure,” Salah told Sky Sports.
“When you go home you can take it with you, but it can help you to work harder and focus on your game.
“At the end of the day you have a target in your mind, you have a dream, you want to win the Premier League. I even said that two years ago when I came — it is a dream to win the Premier League.”
Added to the pressure of trying to win the title is the fact that a clash against Manchester United is like nothing else the Reds come up against all season. The two teams are arch-rivals and Salah is only too aware that their North West neighbors would like nothing more than to ruin the Reds’ title charge.
The United encounter is the first of three tough fixtures in a week for Liverpool, with a midweek clash with Watford and the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday to come — a run of games that is not lost on Salah.
“It is a very big week for us,” Salah said. “And if we win three games and are top of the table, that is huge for us. When you have three games in a week or ten days, you just need to win, win, win, then after that you have time to think.
“Even when we are not top of the league, I know how much United want to win against Liverpool and Everton the same. For me it is not a big deal. We just need to do what we have been doing for the last couple of months.”