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February 8, 2013
Taufeeq Umar, the Pakistan opener who was forced out of the South Africa tour through injury, does not feel any insecurity despite conceding his place at the top of the order to Nasir Jamshed.
A shin injured curtailed Taufeeq's tour before the first Test. He had become a settled part of the team following a recall in 2010 after Salman Butt was caught for spot-fixing. In 18 Tests during the second phase of his career he has scored 1214 runs at 37.93 including a career-best 236 against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.
For any player forced out by injured there is always the risk that the replacement makes the place his, but Taufeeq is confident he will be able to reclaim his berth.
"Injury is always a setback for any player in world cricket," said Taufeeq. "I was unfortunate to have it at such a wrong time. But I was lucky it was not a serious injury and I am positive about my future. I only require another four weeks to get back in shape. The disappointment is obviously there as I was looking forward to the South Africa tour for a long time as I always enjoy playing against them and score a lot of runs.
"Injuries do come but that doesn't mean that is it. I have been doing well since my comeback in 2010 and have nothing to fear about. The next months obviously are tough but I am ready to put in all the hard work to reclaim my place in the side."
Taufeeq, 31, is Pakistan's second highest run-scorer against South Africa since his debut with 730 including two hundreds. He also had an impressive tour of the country in 2002-03 when he made 280 runs.
"There are certain teams I love to score runs against and South Africa is one of them," he said. "I need not worry at all about whoever comes in to replace me. It's in fact a good sign as there is a sense of competition for the slot, which is good for the team. I have good wishes for Nasir or whoever replaces me what is important is that they perform well. I am positive and have nothing to lose, I know I am around and will be available for the next series."
Although Taufeeq should be fit again within a month he will have to wait until June for Pakistan's next Test assignment when they visit West Indies. He is frustrated by Pakistan's lack of Tests and admits it will be a challenge for him not to becoming rusty. In the last five years Pakistan have played 35 Tests, with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe having had fewer.
"This is the reason I am bit upset about my injury," Taufeeq said. "Last time I played a Test was against Sri Lanka some six months back and sometime the gap is more than that so it's hard for a Test batsman to keep himself in the best shape.
"The last domestic season didn't go well for me. I wasn't up to the mark but don't want to make any excuses. I am standing tall and looking forward for positive prospects for my Test career."
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