Pakistan camp for World Cup preparation next week

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An injury-plagued Pakistani squad would start warming up for next month’s Cricket World Cup (CWC) in the West Indies with a training camp scheduled to get underway from next week at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told this correspondent from Islamabad on Friday that the camp would begin from either Thursday or Friday. The members of the 15-man World Cup squad and five reserve players would attend the training camp.

“We expect that (Pakistan coach) Bob Woolmer and his support staff would arrive here before the start of the training camp,” Dr Ahsan Malik, PCB’s Director of Communications, said.

The Pakistani squad returned home on Friday from South Africa where they lost the three-match Test series 1-2 and the five-match One-day International (ODI) series 1-3.

Several of the team’s players are nursing injuries varying from Shoaib Akhtar’s knee injury to minor niggles to other men, who would get just about a week’s rest before preparations for the all-important World Cup get underway.

“The injury list is a major cause of concern for us and we are hoping that our players would get in better shape before they leave for the West Indies,” Malik said.

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for the West Indies on 1st March and would play a couple of warm-up games before meeting the hosts in the World Cup opener at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica on March 13.

Pakistan had a roller-coaster tour of South Africa during which five of their fast bowlers suffered from injuries.

Shoaib just bowled eleven overs in the only match of the Test series he played before returning home with a hamstring injury.

Medium-pacer Umar Gul could not play any role in the series after suffering from a stress fracture and returned home before the start of the opening Test.

Comeback pacer Shabbir Ahmed was later sent as reinforcement for the one-dayers but was sidelined because of fitness problems. Mohammed Asif, Pakistan’s top pacer, suffered from a minor elbow problem.

Fast bowler Mohammad Sami also missed the one-day series because of a back injury and was ignored by the selectors while picking the World Cup squad. He, however, has been retained as one of the five reserves for the Caribbean assignment.

Pakistani officials are hoping that all the twenty players in the picture for the World Cup would attend the conditioning camp in Lahore. However, there is still a question mark on whether Shoaib and Gul would be able to take part in the training sessions.

While Shoaib is scheduled to return from England on Monday after getting a second opinion on his injury from knee specialists, Gul is following a conditioning regime in Lahore.
Source:The News

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