Irfan selected against doctor's advice
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan was picked for the final T20 against South Africa in Dubai despite carrying niggles, ESPNcricinfo has learned. He was to be rested for that game, but ended up injuring his hip and is now likely to miss the series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. The PCB responded quickly by sidelining the team doctor and local trainer and recruiting a foreign physiotherapist to deal with fitness issues.
Pakistan had been without a professional physiotherapist since June, after Faisal Hayat left to work in a hospital in Dubai. Since then the PCB had a doctor and a trainer with the team. ESPNcricinfo understands the doctor wanted to rest Irfan for the T20s against South Africa in the UAE, but the team management led by former wicketkeeper Moin Khan wanted Irfan to play because Junaid Khan was not fit. The spinner Abdur Rehman was available for selection but he was not chosen.
Irfan's fitness has been a talking point since he made his debut in 2010 and he played his longest international streak in the UAE. He bowled 65.5 overs in two Tests against South Africa and 13 overs in a game against UAE. Irfan played all five ODIs, bowling 48 overs, and it is understood that he needed adequate time off. In the first T20, Irfan was able to bowl only two overs, and in the second he bowled 1.4 before having to go off the field with a hip injury. Irfan had been rested from the Tests in Zimbabwe in August and was picked only for the limited-overs series, before making a comeback to all formats against South Africa in the UAE.
Pakistan suffered several injuries in 2013, with Taufeeq Umar and Harris Sohail returning from South Africa at the start of the year. Umar Gul missed the Champions Trophy with a knee injury and is yet to make a comeback. Allrounder Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq suffered injuries during the South Africa series in the UAE. However, they travelled to South Africa for the series in November but had to return to Pakistan after failing to recover.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here