The injured all-rounder Shoaib Malik and medium pacer Mohammad Asif requested the team management they be sent back home after the players became sure they will not be able to play any of the Tests against England, a Pakistan team official said here on Saturday, writes Khalid Hussain.
Team manager Zaheer Abbas told â€˜The Newsâ€™ that both Shoaib and Asif wanted to return home after medical reports confirmed their injury problems were too serious to heal in a few days.
Pakistan flew back Shoaib and Asif on Saturday and asked for opening batsman Taufeeq Umar and medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum as replacements. Taufeeq and Rao are expected to arrive here on Sunday (today), said Zaheer.
â€œShoaib and Asif were not comfortable in staying with the team after it became clear that they wonâ€™t be able to play in the second Test either. They thought it would be better if the management asked other, fitter players to replace them,â€ said Zaheer.
He said that both Shoaib and Asif were among the teamâ€™s key players and their loss for the entire series is a serious blow for Pakistan.
â€œWe werenâ€™t expecting their injuries to be this serious,â€ said Zaheer. â€œObviously itâ€™s a big setback for us since the series has just began and we have a long way to go.â€
Malik, who hit a fine ton in a warm-up game after arriving in England had been complaining of a painful elbow in recent days. He was diagnosed with some post-surgery problems and the injury did not respond to any treatment.
â€œShoaib had an elbow operation in South Africa earlier this year to correct his bowling action and it seems he is yet to fully recover from it,â€ said Zaheer.
The Pakistan manager said that Malikâ€™s chances to get fit for the five-match ODI series against England later this summer do not look bright.
â€œIt seems that it would be very difficult for him to make it for the one-dayers as well because all the reports on his elbow problem are still inconclusive.â€
Zaheer said that even Asif is struggling to get fit after efforts to get his ready for the second Test at Old Trafford went in vain. â€œAsif still has pain and would need substantial rest to be able to bowl for Pakistan again.â€
He said that the arrival of Taufeeq and Rao would add to Pakistanâ€™s selection options that had previously shrank because of the ever-growing injury list.
Taufeeq could be in contention for a Test return if either of the Pakistan openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat fail again in the second innings at Lordâ€™s.
Both of them were unable to stay at the wicket when Pakistan needed them most in the final hour of the second dayâ€™s play. â€œTaufeeq would certainly make our choice wider,â€ agreed Zaheer.
Source:The NewsMore on:Mohammad Asif, Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006, Rao Iftikhar, Shoaib Malik, Taufeeq Umar
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