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Pak call up Iftikhar as cover for Gul

Pakistan have already lost Akhtar and Afridi to injury for the final two matches of the series.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 20:21 IST

Pakistan have called up paceman Rao Iftikhar as cover for Umar Gul, who is likely to miss the fourth one-day match against India in Multan on Thursday because of a hip injury.

"Rao Iftikhar has joined the squad and is in line to be considered for the match," team official Asad Mustafa said on Wednesday.

Gul, 21, took a solitary wicket in the opening three matches of the series as India took a 2-1 lead.

"I have excruciating pain in my hip and I have gone for scans today but I will get it checked up properly in Karachi," Gul said.

Pakistan have already lost fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and all-rounder Shahid Afridi to injury for the final two matches of the series. India opener Virender Sehwag and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh have also returned home after fitness problems to recover for their home series against England.

India captain Rahul Dravid said his team would have to play disciplined cricket to win the series.

"We are very keen to win the series in Multan but it is not going to be easy. Pakistan are very hard to beat at home and despite injuries they can come back," he told a news conference.

"We know we have to play well. We have to play one day of good cricket out of the remaining two to win the series. We are confident of doing it."

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq said the injury problems had come at the wrong time but it was something his players would have to deal with.

"We are facing problems of players losing form but we have to stand by them. I am confident they will not let the team down."

India bounced back from losing the opening match in Peshawar by winning the games in Rawalpindi and Lahore. Thursday's match in Multan is followed by the final encounter in Karachi on Sunday.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 20:21 IST