Pakistan news December 10, 2011

Junaid ready to begin training again

Junaid Khan, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said he has recovered from the injury he picked up during Pakistan's recent one-day series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates, and could start practicing as early as next week.

The 21-year-old Junaid was out of cricket for six weeks after he sustained a partial tear in his abdominal muscle while bowling during the fifth ODI in Abu Dhabi. It was the first serious injury of his career.

"My latest MRI scans are all clear but I am asking the doctor for advice and will return to the ground accordingly," Khan told ESPNcricinfo. "But based on the initial response by the doctor, I should be able to start practice from December 13."

Prior to his injury, Junaid had taken 12 wickets in the three Tests against Sri Lanka. He was left out for the first four ODIs, but replaced Aizaz Cheema for the dead rubber in Abu Dhabi. He bowled just three overs before leaving the field after experiencing pain in his abdomen. He was taken to hospital for an MRI scan where the injury was discovered.

Junaid, who emerged from the Under-19 group that included Mohammad Amir, first made it to national contention when he was called up for Pakistan's 2011 World Cup squad as a late replacement for Sohail Tanvir. His Test debut, against Zimbabwe in 2011, was uneventful; he picked up five wickets in his second Test against Sri Lanka on a flat surface in Abu Dhabi.

His injury occurred just as his fledgling career was gathering momentum but Junaid brushed aside any suggestions that it was a setback. "It's a part of the game but I have never suffered an injury until this one. I know Mohammad Khalil has been picked as a replacement for the Bangladesh tour but what I know is that luck plays a vital part in your career. I am not in a hurry and never was, as success has no shortcut.

"What I have to do is ensure my best performance whenever I get chance. This injury is a minor hindrance."

Junaid said he sees himself as a frontline bowler instead of a supporting one. "I have my own standing in the cricketing world and have not been promoted to fill the Mohammad Amir vacuum. We both have been playing in the Under-19 team and each of us has our own standing. I don't want to be linked with any one and wanted to make my own reputation."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent