Pakistan’s Noman Ali out of the series against Australia with injury


Pakistan’s bowling absentee list continues to swell, with Noman Ali the latest to be ruled out of the series. He was diagnosed with acute appendicitis after complaining of “sudden and severe” abdominal pain, according to a statement put out by the PCB. Scans confirmed the diagnosis, and he spent Friday night in hospital.

Noman underwent laparoscopic appendectomy in the morning, a surgery deemed to be successful. The PCB said he was stable and doing well, and expected to be discharged in the afternoon.

Noman was included in the original squad to tour Australia as back-up spinner to Abrar Ahmed. However, Abrar picked up an injury in the tour game that ruled him out of the first Test that took place last week; he is unlikely to feature in the remainder of the series. The PCB flew in Sajid Khan as cover, though he arrived too late to allow him to take part in Perth.

As such, Pakistan lined up in the first Test without a specialist spinner, with Agha Salman taking up offspin duties. While the PCB made no suggestion Noman was unfit at the time, Pakistan team director Mohammad Hafeez said after the Test ended in defeat that he had a finger injury that prevented him from fielding and batting, and thus could not play.

Pakistan are currently playing the second day of a two-day game at the Junction Oval in Melbourne against a Victoria XI side. Noman did not take part in the first day’s play, and Sajid was the only offspinner Pakistan used on the second day during Victoria XI’s innings.
Noman’s injury means Sajid is the only specialist spinner Pakistan have among their ranks whose fitness status is not in doubt. With Pakistan expected to field a spinner for the second Test, his participation appears almost guaranteed. Pakistan’s fast bowling stocks have also been hit hard, with Khurram Shahzad ruled out of the series two days earlier with a stress fracture in his rib. Naseem Shah is currently recovering from a long-term injury, while Haris Rauf declined to take part in this series.

Those absences were partly why Pakistan went in with two fast bowling debutants in Aamer Jamal and Shahzad. They have also Mir Hamza, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim Jnr among their ranks.

The second Test begins on December 26 at the MCG.

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