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Afridi injury scare for Pakistan

Shahid Afridi gave Pakistan a fresh fitness scare after he was injured in the nets at Old Trafford, just 48 hours ahead of the second Test against England.

Afridi, whose hard hitting and handy legspin makes him the premier allrounder in the Pakistan team, was struck on the upper part of his right elbow by a member of the Lancashire groundstaff. He then had ice treatment and strapping applied and didn't bowl in the nets.

"Afridi has a bruised elbow but he should be OK in the next two days," said Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach. "It's a hard ball game and such things often happen. He's a tough Pathan and he'll be OK."

Afridi played in the drawn series opener at Lord's, the first of a four-Test series. But missing from that match, and still sidelined by injury, are the fast bowling trio of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan - out of the tour completely with a groin problem - Shoaib Akhtar (ankle) and Mohammad Asif (elbow).

However, Pakistan hope to call upon their vice-captain, Younis Khan, when the second Test starts at Old Trafford on Thursday. He missed the Lord's match with a knee injury, while their senior opener, Shoaib Malik, is still out with an elbow problem.

Pakistan's plight has led to suggestions that the legspinner, Mushtaq Ahmed, currently playing for Susssex, might be recalled. But Woolmer indicated he'd be sticking by his squad, already reinforced by the call-up of uncapped seamer Samiullah Khan Niazi, batsman Taufeeq Umar and medium-pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum.

"We have not made any decision as yet," he said, "but after looking at the scorecards for the last five years, we think the spinners have not been that successful at Old Trafford."