Pakistan in England, 2006 July 15, 2006

Asif and Malik return home

Cricinfo staff



Taufeeq Umar will give Pakistan another option at the top of the order © Getty Images

Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan duo who have been suffering from elbow problems, have returned home, Zaheer Abbas, the team manager, confirmed. Asif may return for the conclusion of the series if treatment eases his injury but Malik is ruled out for all the Tests.

The injury-ridden Pakistan side, currently struggling in the opening Test at Lord's, have called up Taufeeq Umar, the opening batsman, and Rao Iftikhar Anjum, the medium-pacer, to join the squad.

"There have been some unexpected injuries to the team and as a result of which, the management has asked the selectors to send some replacements," Abbas Zaidi, director of cricket operations for the Pakistan board, was quoted as saying in Reuters. Zaidi said Malik was still feeling the effects of elbow surgery underwent earlier this year in South Africa. "The reports are that he might struggle to play in the Tests."

Samiullah Niazi, the left-arm medium-pacer, has already been drafted in, to back up their weakened bowling attack, missing Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. Pakistan had their cup of woe filled up before the start of the Lord's game with Younis Khan, the vice-captain, and Asif, their impressive seam bowler, ruled out with fitness problems.

Rao Iftikhar has played in one Test and 18 one-day internationals while Taufeeq has appeared in 24 Tests and 19 one-dayers, his last match coming against India in March 2005.

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