Imran Khan ruled out of third Test
Imran Khan, the Pakistan fast bowler, has been ruled out for the third and final Test against England at Sharjah on Sunday, after injuring his bowling hand during fielding practice on Friday.
Imran, 28, was an unsung hero of Pakistan's victory in the second Test at Dubai last week, in which he claimed four wickets - two in each innings - as England's batting unravelled at key moments of each innings.
However, he was taken to hospital after splitting the webbing on his right hand while attempting to catch a ball at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and after receiving stitches in the wound, he will now be out of action for ten days.
"He injured his hand while fielding session and was taken to hospital," Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's team manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "He is out for ten days after four stitches were applied at his webbing."
Imran is considered something of a lucky charm by Pakistan, having never yet finished on the losing side in any of his seven Tests since his debut against Australia at Dubai in October 2014.
Now that he has been ruled out, however, Rahat Ali, the left-arm fast bowler who played in the first Test at Abu Dhabi, is the obvious replacement.
However, on a surface that has proven conducive to spin in the past, Pakistan also have the option of selecting an additional spin bowler in Bilal Asif, whose bowling action was today cleared by the ICC following biomechanical testing.
Asif's bowling action was reported during the ODI series against Zimbabwe on October 5 and he underwent testing in Chennai a fortnight later. However, the ICC have now announced that his elbow has been found to be well within the 15-degree limit for all deliveries, and he is clear to resume playing.
However, Asif's selection alongside the current spin incumbents, Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar, would leave a heavy burden on the shoulders of Wahab Riaz, whose fast-bowling exploits at Dubai earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson