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Injury worries for Pakistan

Pakistan were on Tuesday forced to drop all-rounder Yasir Arafat from their 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 because of a calf injury.

cricket Updated: Apr 14, 2010 01:17 IST

Pakistan were on Tuesday forced to drop all-rounder Yasir Arafat from their 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 because of a calf injury.

Arafat, a successful all-rounder at the English county level, sustained the injury during strenuous fielding drills last week and failed to recover from it.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said Tuesday that Arafat himself said he would be unable to resume bowling practice after which it was decided to drop him from the touring party.

Sources in the Pakistan camp said there are chances that Shahzaib Hasan, the big-hitting opening batsman, is expected to be included in the squad as Arafat’s replacement. Shahzaib was a part of the Pakistan team which won the World Twenty20 in England last June but was later dropped by national selectors.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had Tuesday constituted a four-member medical panel to decide if Arafat and pacer Umar Gul were fit enough to play in the Twenty20 World Cup beginning this month in the West Indies.

Umar is suffering from a shoulder injury and the PCB announced that the medical board would meet later in the day to examine the player and also review his MRI scans to decide if he would be available for the World Cup.

"The medical board will give us a clear picture of whether the player can be fit for the World Cup. Although the injury is not serious we don't want to take any chance with the fitness of any player for such a major event," a board official said.

He said the team management and national selectors were firm that any player even if he was 90 per cent fit would not be going to the World Cup.

"That is why the medical board will give us a clear picture of whether these two players can go to the World Cup as their initial MRI scan reports were not very clear," he said.

Meanwhile, there was some good news for Gul, Pakistan's most successful bowler in T20 cricket, as he resumed bowling in the training camp here after 10 days. "I bowled three overs off a short run-up and thankfully I felt okay although there was a little stiffness in my body as I bowled after a long time," Gul said.

Gul will have to pass a fitness test on April 18 to stay on the squad.

"We are all hoping that Umar Gul passes the fitness test because he is one of our key players for the Twenty20 World Cup,” said Afridi.