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November 16, 2013
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been ruled out of Pakistan's short limited-overs trip to South Africa this month due to injury. Another quick bowler Wahab Riaz, who went wicketless in three ODIs against South Africa in the UAE, has been dropped. Two players, medium-pace bowling allrounder Bilawal Bhatti and fast bowler Anwar Ali, were added to the limited-overs squad which lost the T20s 2-0 and the ODIs 4-1 to South Africa in the UAE.
Irfan suffered an injury during the second T20 in Dubai when he knelt down after the fourth ball of his second over. After rubbing his hip, where he felt the pain, he was helped off the field. He had an MRI scan in Dubai and according to the PCB he would stay back in the UAE to see a specialist. He is expected to return to Pakistan early next week.
"We are a little bit concerned but confident he will be alright for SL," Dav Whatmore, the Pakistan coach, said before adding that Irfan's workload will be carefully monitored going forward.
His absence for the South Africa tour will dent Pakistan's attack as earlier this year he was the biggest positive Pakistan had from the tour. He took 25 wickets in seven matches across all formats.
Bhatti is one of the few prospects from Pakistan's domestic circuit in recent years, forging a reputation with his all-round play. He has been in national contention for the last two years, but was left behind on the back of an injury he sustained last year. He is one of the few nippy bowlers in Pakistan who can bat fluently, and has two first-class hundreds to his name for domestic side Sui National Gas Pipelines Ltd.
Anwar, 25, first gained prominence with his swing bowling during Pakistan's successful Under-19 World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka in 2006. He made his international debut in 2008 and has played three T20s for Pakistan so far, the most recent being on the Zimbabwe tour in August.
While there has been a reshuffle in the bowling, it is the batting that has repeatedly let Pakistan down in recent series, a department in which there were no major changes.
The PCB press release confirmed that Misbah-ul-Haq - who was expected to be rested for the South Africa tour - remains Pakistan captain while Mohammad Hafeez will continue to lead the Twenty20 squad.
There was also a change in the plan for the wicketkeeping department as the selectors picked Umar Akmal as the only wicketkeeper for the tour. Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was part of the ODI squad in the UAE, returned home without playing a game.
The 17-man squad left for South Africa to play two Twenty20s and three ODIs.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain ODI), Mohammad Hafeez (captain T20), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal (wk), Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Umar Farooq
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough