World Cup, 2007 February 15, 2007

Mahmood added to World Cup reserves

Azhar Mahmood will act as cover for the seamers © AFP

Azhar Mahmood, the Pakistan allrounder, has been added to Pakistan's reserves for the World Cup starting in the West Indies next month after receiving a clearance from the ICC.

Iqbal Qasim, a national selector, said on Wednesday that Mahmood had been included in place of uncapped spinner Mansoor Amjad as cover for pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif. All three seamers will undergo fitness tests this month and, if required, can be replaced in the squad from the shortlist of players.

Mahmood was called up to join the Pakistan side in South Africa as a reinforcement for the one-dayers after being sidelined for two years. He was dropped for the final one-dayer on Wednesday after playing in the previous three, during which he took one wicket and scored 27 runs.

Saleem Altaf, Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) director of cricket operations, said Gul had been advised two weeks rest for an ankle injury while Asif had complained of an elbow problem.

"Shoaib will be returning from London this week after getting a second opinion on his knee injury," he said. "We don't as yet know if he requires a surgery."