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.


Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

Updated 42 min 7 sec ago
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Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

MANCHESTER: Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are both on the verge of a return to action for Manchester City as a busy December program gathers pace, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Aguero, City’s leading scorer, has missed their past four matches with a groin problem but has been able to train without discomfort and could face Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Belgium midfielder De Bruyne suffered ligament damage to his right knee in August and although he returned in October, he then injured his left knee during the League Cup win over Fulham on November 1.
He too has resumed full training and Guardiola will assess both players in the hope that his lengthy casualty list might be about to ease.
The manager, though, is optimistic on 30-year-old Aguero, who has 12 goals in all competitions this season.
“He did the last two training sessions, including on Thursday and he has no pain in his injury so we’ll decide,” he said.
“Kevin is in the same situation as Sergio. Yesterday he trained with no pain, we will see.”
The win over Hoffenheim enabled City to get back on track after the disappointment of seeing their 15-match unbeaten start to the Premier League season end in a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last Saturday.
“Last season, when we dropped points, we were able to respond with another big run,” he said.