Pakistanâ€™s injury woes continued to grow on Wednesday when it was revealed that even the vice-captain Younis Khan was struggling to get fit for the first Test here from today, writes Khalid Hussain.
A source in the Pakistan team told this correspondent that Younis is yet to recover from a knee problem even after extensive treatment and remains a doubtful starter for the opening match.
Younis, an important member of the Pakistani middle-order, received an injection the other day in a bid to lessen the pain but was still uncomfortable in the nets on Wednesday. Though skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq has showed no concern over Younis getting fit in the team for the important Test, the team management was perturbed by this latest setback following injuries to several of their key players.
With two of their main strike bowlers â€” Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, and young medium pacer Mohammad Asif out of the first Test, the teamâ€™s think tank knows that unlike the past when they reigned supreme on the back of their wicket-taking bowlers, they will have to win matches through their batsmen this summer. And that is why Younis, a prolific run-getter, is so important to the whole equation.
The source said that the management is hoping that Younis would get fit but has made plans to field in young middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal if he doesnâ€™t. Faisal, a nephew of the great Javed Miandad, has been in pretty good form in recent months and remains in contention to play today.
Then a question mark also hangs over all-rounder Shoaib Malik. He is also suffering from an elbow problem and according to Inzamam, Malik is having problems while fielding.
â€œMalik can bat alright but comes in a bit of discomfort when throwing the ball. But we are hopeful he is going to be fit,â€ he said.
Source:The NewsMore on:Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006, Younis Khan
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