Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan pace bowler Usman Khan could be out of action for up to six months after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.
Usman sustained the injury after the second Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. As a result, he was forced to miss the final Twenty20 International, which was a historical one as it was held in Lahore and marked Sri Lanka’s return to Pakistan for the first time since March 2009.
The 23-year-old suffered a similar injury back in 2013 and endured further problems in his back during the 2014/15 season.
“It is disappointing but this [course of treatment] will give him the best chance of recovering as quickly as possible,” Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur told ESPNcricinfo.
Pakistan have been hit with a spate of injuries as of late as left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir is nursing a shin injury, while all-rounder Ruman Raees, batsman Babar Azam and spinner Imad Wasim are struggling with wrist, groin and knee issues respectively.
Arthur admitted that he is slightly concerned about the recent string of injuries his players have suffered, but added that most of them should be back on the pitch in quick time.
“A little bit, but a lot of them niggles just needed a bit of rest and that is why we have put such a lot of effort in working on our bench strength,” he said.
However, Usman’s injury comes as a big blow, especially as he took the third-fastest five-wicket haul in ODI history during the fifth ODI against Sri Lanka. Usman needed just 21 balls to take claim his maiden five-for.