ICL: Indian Cricket League

Rao Iftikhar flies back home after demise of his father


Medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum flew home from here after hearing the news that his father passed away back in Pakistan on Sunday.

A Pakistan team official told this correspondent that Rao was sent back home because of the tragic news he got from Pakistan on Sunday evening.

The Pakistan team manager Zaheer Abbas said that the entire Pakistani squad was saddened by the demise of Rao’s father and the management made hectic efforts to send the player back to his home town.

Rao, who has played a Test and 19 One-day Internationals for Pakistan, came to England as a replacement for injured medium pacer Mohammad Asif. He did not play in the opening Test against England at Lord’s where Pakistan fielded pacers Mohammad Sami and Umar Gul, but did take part in the tourists’ three-day match against Northamptonshire last week. He took two wickets in Pakistan’s seven wicket win at Northampton.

Zaheer said that Rao’s departure was another setback for Pakistan, who are facing an injury crisis as some of their key players are out of the squad because of fitness problems. However, he said that Pakistan would not be asking for any replacement for Rao.

“Almost everybody who can be in the Pakistan team is here and if any such player is not already with us that means he is injured. I mean, we don’t have anybody left to try out any more,” said Zaheer.

Meanwhile, Pakistan decided against going for any net practice here at Old Trafford on Monday in a bid to give their players some much-needed rest ahead of the second Test starting here from Thursday.

Zaheer said that the team had planned a practice session for Monday morning but later opted to shift it to today (Tuesday). “Some of our players needed more rest so we have decided to have the nets tomorrow,” said Zaheer. He said that the fitness graph of the players was improving after several injury setbacks earlier this month.

“The boys have now fully settled down. Players like Younis Khan, who faced injury problems earlier on this tour, are now completely fit and looking forward to play in the next Test,” he told.

Younis, Pakistan’s vice-captain did not play in the Lord’s Test because of a knee injury he sustained in a side game earlier this month. Zaheer said that all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who suffered from a minor back problem on the final day of the Lord’s Test, is also almost completely fit and would take part in the nets session today.

Source:The News

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