Junaid Khan out of Cricket World Cup
ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan suffered a Cricket World Cup blow Monday when fast bowler Junaid Khan was ruled out of the tournament after failing a fitness test.
“Junaid won’t be able to play in the World Cup because he needs another two weeks to regain fitness,” Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said.
Junaid injured his hamstring during a training camp at Lahore last month and did not accompany the team to New Zealand for the two-match One-Day series.
The selectors included right-arm fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti as a replacement for the tour of New Zealand and had hoped Junaid would be fit for the World Cup, starting from February 14.
Bhatti played in both the warm-up matches in New Zealand and took one for 51 in Pakistan’s seven-wicket loss against the Kiwis in the first ODI last Saturday.
“The obvious choice is Bhatti (for the World Cup) as he is there in New Zealand, but the selectors might think we need a left-arm seam bowler like Junaid,” the PCB chairman said.
Experienced fast bowler Umar Gul and off spinner Saeed Ajmal were ruled out respectively through injury and a need for more time to correct an illegal bowling action.
Another suspended off spinner Mohammad Hafeez, who is in Pakistan’s World Cup squad, is due to undergo an official test of his bowling action in Brisbane on Friday.
Hafeez won’t be able to bowl in Pakistan’s opening match against archrival India on February 15 because the result of his test will only be known after the crunch game in Adelaide.