Pakistan in South Africa, 2006-07 February 4, 2007

Shabbir flies home with groin injury

Cricinfo staff

Shabbir's stay in South Africa was a short one © AFP
Pakistan's injury curse has continued with Shabbir Ahmed forced to fly home from South Africa after less than a week on tour. He picked up a groin strain during Friday's Twenty20, his first match back since remodeling his bowling action.

Darryn Lifson, the Pakistan physio, has estimated the recovery time to be around three weeks, which puts Shabbir's chances of gaining a World Cup place in jeopardy. The final 15-man squad has to be named by February 13 and there won't be any room for players under an injury cloud.

Shabbir's withdrawal adds to Pakistan's catalogue of problems in South Africa, which have included Shoaib Akhtar's brief, but dramatic, appearance in the Test series before he went home with a hamstring problem. Shoaib's wasn't originally part of the squad because he wasn't deemed to be fit enough.

Umar Gul played no part in the series after picking up an ankle injury during the warm-up match against South Africa A and Shoaib Malik was also forced to miss out. Inzamam-ul-Haq suffered from a back problem during the final Test and missed the Twenty20, although was passed fit to lead the team in the first ODI.