ICL: Indian Cricket League

Razzaq out of World Cup


Pakistan’s World Cup ambitions suffered a major blow on Tuesday when experienced all-rounder Abdul Razzaq was ruled out of next month’s tournament with a knee injury.

A Pakistan team official told ‘The News’ that Razzaq was hit by a ball while batting in the nets on Monday evening at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and could be suffering from a fractured knee.

He has been replaced with comeback all-rounder Azhar Mahmood in Pakistan’s 15-man squad, which is scheduled to leave for the West Indies tomorrow (Thursday).

“Razzaq will be out of action for at least three weeks so the World Cup is over for him,” the team’s media manager PJ Mir said. “It is a huge setback considering that fact that Razzaq is a key player in our one-day squad and would missed sorely in the World Cup,” he added.

The Lahore-born player was left completely devastated with his World Cup exit.

“I’m heartbroken,” Razzaq said. “I’ve training hard for the World Cup but now doctors are telling me that I am out it. I feel completely shattered,” added the player who missed last month’s Test series against South Africa because of an elbow injury.

Razzaq had passed a fitness test at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium just hours before sustaining the injury that ended his World Cup hopes.

“He appeared to be one of the fitter players in the squad during the test but unfortunately got injured soon after. It is disappointing but such things happen,” said Mir.

He said that Razzaq did not feel much pain last evening but when he woke up Tuesday morning, his knee was completely swollen.

“It is really a major setback for us,” Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said adding that Razzaq’s ouster would complicate Pakistan’s problems ahead of the World Cup, which gets underway from March 13.

Pakistan are already unsure whether key strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif would be able to overcome fitness and dope-related issues in time to be a part of their World Cup squad.

The pacers, who tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance last October, are currently in England in a bid to recover from injuries. They are also yet to undergo a dope test made mandatory by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said that in Razzaq his team has lost a valuable player. “We were just celebrating the return to fitness of Umar Gul when this bad news came,” said the coach referring to the confirmation that medium pacer Gul has recovered from an ankle injury and would feature in Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.

Razzaq, 27, has been an integral part of Pakistan’s ODI squad because of his reliability as a batsman and useful bowling credentials. He has scored 4449 runs and taken 245 wickets from 229 one-dayers.

His loss turned out to be Azhar Mahmood’s gain. A surprise World Cup berth came as almost a birthday present for Azhar who turns 32 today (Wednesday).

Azhar, who has played 142 ODI for his 1519 runs and 123 wickets, was once regarded as an important member of Pakistan’s one-day team but has mostly been out of the squad in recent years.

He made a surprise comeback in the one-day series against South Africa earlier this month but was later left out of the initial World Cup squad. As an afterthought, he was selected in a five-man reserve list.
Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 and is filed under World Cup 2007.

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