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Pakistan plan return of Mohammad Irfan before ICC World Cup 2015

Mohammad Irfan is expected to be fit well in advance to the ICC World Cup 2015 © Getty Images
Mohammad Irfan is expected to be fit well in advance to the ICC World Cup 2015 © Getty Images

Karachi: Apr 28, 2014

Pakistan‘s cricket experts have prepared a comprehensive plan to ensure that the injury prone left-arm pacer, Mohammad Irfan is available for the national team in the World Cup 2015.

The head coach at the national cricket academy, Mohammad Akram told PTI that with a spate of international events coming up for Pakistan this season, culminating with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, they have worked out a plan to ensure all the top bowlers are available for selection.

“Irfan has made a great recovery from his hip hairline fracture but he is not ready to play as yet. We are holding back his comeback,” Akram who was until recently bowling coach of the national team said.

Irfan, who is arguably the tallest man to play international cricket at 7 feet tall, had to sit out in the recent Asia Cup 2014 and World Cup T20 in Bangladesh due to the hairline fracture which he sustained last year while playing a series against South Africa in the UAE.

Since early this year, the tall pacer has been undergoing a rehabilitation process at the NCA in Lahore under the supervision of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) medical panel and coaches and Akram said the recovery process had gone well enough to dismiss earlier fears that Irfan might have to undergo surgery in Australia like Umar Gul.

Gul, one of Pakistan’s most experienced bowlers underwent knee surgery last year in May.

“We don’t want to rush things with either Irfan or even Usman Shinwari and our main target is to see they are completely fit to endure the rigours of the World Cup or in matches before that,” Akram said.

“We have made a plan for Irfan ahead of 2015 World Cup,” he added.

Akram said that even when he was bowling coach he had discussed a rotation policy for the bowlers with captains, Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez and the head coach.

“We have depth in our pace department and we need to use it effectively. When the month long camp is held in Lahore from next month we will again be discussing our plans for the bowlers with the team management,” he said.

Akram said that plans were to get Irfan in the right frame of mind to play the one-day series later in the year against Australia and New Zealand to get him back into rhythm for the World Cup.

Shinwari, a promising young left arm pacer, also suffered a stress fracture of the back due to excessive bowling in the last domestic season where he was made to bowl 60 to 70 overs in first-class matches.

Shinwari was summoned for the T20 series against Sri Lanka in a hurry by the selectors and management and fared badly in the two games. When he returned from the UAE it was learnt he also had fitness issues.

Akram said Irfan and other bowlers would be part of the month long training camp.

“We are aware that we need to have our top bowlers available for the World Cup which will be a testing event for all teams,” he added.
Pakistan will also tour New Zealand for a short one-day series before featuring in the World Cup.

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