Pakistan in England 2006 July 11, 2006

Asif and Sami could play at Lord's

Zaheer Abbas says that Mohammad Sami is certain to play the first Test © Getty Images

Mohammad Asif has a 50% chance of playing the opening Test against England at Lord's on Thursday.

Zaheer Abbas, the team manager, told The News that Asif had received intensive treatment for his elbow injury sustained during the four-day game against England A at Canterbury last week. The injury was initially thought to be serious enough to rule him out of the first Test but Zaheer said that there was hope that he would make it just in time to play the opening match.

"Asif is in pain but he is being treated by experts and might get fit for the first Test," said Zaheer. While Asif remains doubtful to make the playing eleven at Lord's, Mohammad Sami and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal are fully fit.

"Sami and Kamran just had minor problems and such things are quite common. We are not concerned about them as both of them are certain for the opening Test," said Zaheer. Akmal suffered from a bruise on the opening day of the game at Canterbury and Sami, who will lead the attack in the absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, was hit on his knee while fielding in the same game.

Pakistan had an unimpressive outing at Canterbury where England A amassed 595 in the first-innings. In contrast, most of the Pakistan batsmen failed to impress in the warm-up game and fell cheaply. The match ended in a draw.

Zaheer said that it was good that the team went through such a frustrating game and said that Canterbury was a wake-up call. "I am sure that the Canterbury shock will have woken them [Pakistan] up. Such results in warm-up games normally help you lift you game to another level when the actual series starts. The boys have been working hard and we are expecting some good performances at Lord's from them."