Officials say Inzamam's innings today might have worsened his back condition © AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has effectively been ruled out from taking any further part in second Test against India at Faisalabad due to continuing problems with his back. The injury is thought to be serious enough to make him a doubtful starter for the third Test in Karachi.
A team management official told Cricinfo that Inzamam was suffering from a slight disc bulge, which puts pressure on the nerves and the spine. "The problem often inhibits him for five to six days. It can clear up quite quickly sometimes but we will have to wait and see. We can't rule him out of the Karachi Test just yet. He will only bat here if absolutely necessary."
There had been talk of Inzamam's back possibly ruling him out in the build-up to this Test and it was thought that the cold weather had worsened what has been a long-standing problem. At the time, Inzamam denied it was a problem. He looked in some discomfort when batting on the first day and his condition deteriorated overnight, forcing him to retire hurt. He only came out to bat until over an hour into the morning session. For much of his innings today he required a runner and he didn't take the field when India came out to bat. According to the official, the innings today "may have worsened his condition."
"Since the body was warm, I did not feel much," Inzamam told PTI, "but once I returned to the dressing room, I knew then and there that it was not a minor injury. I took treatment this morning also but was only able to bat after taking four high potency pain-killing tablets. I do not like to take injections in the back."
Inzamam's back has become increasingly troublesome over the last year, causing him to miss two Tests of the series against Australia in 2004-05 as well as hampering his batting at various stages through the series against England last month. Although it has improved considerably, some have suggested that the generally poor state of his fitness particularly early in his career has resulted in the aggravation of the problem. The official added, "We are keen for him to do some work in the pool on it as it is a fairly serious problem. Generally to combat it, he has to look after himself carefully from now on, monitor the problem and really maintain his fitness routines."
Inzamam conceded that while this latest injury is unlikely to be career-threatening, he is now forced to review his future. "I think I still have couple of years of cricket left in me but if I am not selective now, then I might not carry on. It is premature to say which tours or matches I would like to skip but I desperately want to play in this entire series because it means a lot to me."