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September 8, 2012
Shahid Afridi is unlikely to play in the final Twenty20 due to his ongoing thumb injury but Saeed Ajmal is expected to be fit after hurting his left shoulder during Pakistan's win on Friday. The captain Mohammad Hafeez said Pakistan would make some changes after securing the series with a 2-0 lead and he was keen to give some game time to some of the men who were not used in the first two matches.
Pakistan took an unbeatable lead over Australia by prevailing in the Super Over in Dubai in the second match and next week the teams head to Sri Lanka ahead of the ICC World Twenty20. With such an important tournament approaching, Hafeez said there seemed little point risking Afridi in Monday's dead rubber.
"I don't think so, because he's still not feeling that good," Hafeez told reporters in Dubai. "I don't want to take any chance because I want him in the World Cup. He's a match-winner for Pakistan, there's no doubt. I don't think he will be available. We'll have to see. If he recovers well he's always the first choice for me as a captain but at the moment I don't think he will be available for the third game."
However, Hafeez said he anticipated that Ajmal, who on Friday drew level with Afridi as the all-time leading T20 international wicket taker, would be available for the final game. Ajmal collected 2 for 20 from his four overs but injured his shoulder in the process, which meant Pakistan could not use him to bowl the Super Over.
"He was not feeling well. That was the reason we decided to go with Umar Gul [for the Super Over]," Hafeez said. "He was having a little bit of pain [in his left shoulder] and that was the reason the physio suggested not to go with him. I feel he will recover in one or two days because it is not a big injury. But he will recover from that for the next game."
With the World T20 so close, Pakistan are keen to give an opportunity to some of the men who have missed the first two games, but who may be required in Sri Lanka. Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq and Yasir Arafat are in the squad but have not yet played in the T20 series and Hafeez said while a decision had not been made on who would come in, Pakistan would make some changes.
"We might try a couple of things because I believe everybody should get a chance," he said. "Definitely we will give a chance to some of the players who have been sitting on the bench. I know they are good enough."
Hafeez has now lost only one of his four matches as Pakistan's T20 captain and the signs are encouraging ahead of the World T20, with runs coming from the top order and wickets being shared among the bowlers. He said he was happy with the way the team was building towards the world tournament.
"As a captain I'm very pleased the way the boys are responding under pressure," Hafeez said. "Especially matches like that when you win you always get the right feeling back in the dressing room and everybody is very confident to do the job for Pakistan. Whenever I ask for someone to do the job everybody is there. As a captain I feel very proud of my team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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