Injury-hit Pakistan fly in Rao for South Africa ODIs

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Medium pacer Rao Iftikhar is to fly to South Africa to bolster the injury-hit Pakistani team after its massive defeat in the first One-day International (ODI), a cricket official said on Tuesday.

“Iftikhar is flying on Wednesday to join the Pakistani team on the request of the team management,” the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) director of operations Saleem Altaf told reporters.

The 26-year-old Iftikhar joins all-rounder Azhar Mahmood who flew on Monday as Pakistan’s injury woes continue during the five-match one-day series in South Africa, their last competition before next month’s World Cup in the West Indies.

South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the series on Sunday with a thumping 164-run victory over Pakistan at the Centurion. The host scored 392-6 in 50 overs and then bowled Pakistan out for 228 runs.

Iftikhar, who has taken 19 wickets in 25 one-day matches, was overlooked in the 17-man one-day squad announced last month.

Azhar was sent to replace injured fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed who damaged his groin during the Twenty20 international which preceded the one-day series.

Shabbir, who was due to return home late on Tuesday, is the third player to be sent back from South Africa on fitness grounds after bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul returned last month.

Shoaib was also sent as a replacement for Gul, who twisted his ankle during the team’s first warm-up match, barely three days after Pakistan landed in the Republic.

Shoaib’s tour also lasted just a week as he tore his hamstring muscle during the second Test at Port Elizabeth and was sent back. The second One-day International (ODI) will be played at Durban on Wednesday (today).

Source:The News

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