Pakistan were on the verge of an England-like injury scare on Thursday when medium pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was almost ruled out of the forthcoming tour of England because of a â€˜seriousâ€™ groin injury.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said Rana, who suffered from the injury while playing for English County Sussex last month, will not be able to feature in this summerâ€™s tour of England if fears that he could need a surgery for a groin problem are proven right.
â€œRana seems unlikely for the tour of England,â€ PCB Director Abbas Zaidi said in a telephonic conversation from Lahore. â€œHis groin injury is feared to be more serious than everybody thought it was and the player might have to rest for several weeks.â€
It would be a serious blow for Pakistan if Rana fails to make the line-up against England. They are already without key strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the marathon tour that includes four Tests, five One-day International (ODI) matches and other side games. Shoaib was forced out of the initial part of the tour because of an ankle injury earlier this month.
It seems that Pakistan might end up like England during this summer as far as injuries are concerned. England have been hit hard by fitness problems to their key players including skipper Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones.
Following his recent exploits in the English country season, Rana was expected to play a pivotal role for the Pakistani attack in England. The 28-year-old from Sheikhupura proved himself as one of the most effective bowlers in the county season by taking 34 wickets in five matches for Sussex.
â€œIt would be a setback if Rana misses the series against England,â€ agreed Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer.
The early indications are that he will. The PCB medical commission, after carrying out a scan, has advised Rana a six-week rest. That rules him out of international action for almost two months, meaning he would not be able to play in the first two Tests against England to be played at Lordâ€™s and Old Trafford, to be played between July 13 and 31.
He could be out for a longer period if a surgery is required. Rana, who has played eight Tests and 45 ODIs, is to be examined by a British specialist in Sussex early next week. â€œHe would need a surgery if the injury is serious enough,â€ said Zaidi.
Reserve medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum has been asked to be prepared for a ticket to England following Ranaâ€™s injury report.
Rao was certain to be included in the national team for the ODI series against England but Ranaâ€™s expected absence would most likely get him a slot in the Test squad as well. Also in with a chance is left-arm medium pacer Samiullah Niazi.
The decision on Ranaâ€™s replacement would be made once the final report on his groin problem reaches the PCB.
Pakistan have several pacers in their 16-man squad including Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul and Shahid Nazir.
Source:The NewsMore on:Pakistan in England 2006, PCB, Rana Naved, Sussex
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