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Pakistan think-tank restrict Mohammad Irfan’s participation to ODIs and T20Is

Mohammad Irfan © Getty Images
Mohammad Irfan has been called back to the © Getty Images

Karachi, Jul 16, 2014 

Pakistan team management has decided to restrict tall paceman Mohammad Irfan to only ODIs and T20s, keeping in mind team’s interest in the next year’s World Cup. Injury-prone Irfan was stopped from participating in any Ramazan tournament as coach Waqar Younis called him back to the national cricket academy to concentrate on fitness.

“Waqar, who himself has been a fast bowler, has made it clear to Irfan that he should just work on his fitness and training at the NCA till the next domestic season starts in September,” a source close to Irfan told PTI. Irfan said that he had been told that the Pakistan management had prepared a proper schedule for him and he would only be playing in the one-dayers and T20 matches in future.

“I have been informed that I will make my return to the Pakistan team for the home series against Australia in October and before that I should just train and work on my fitness,” he said. A PCB source said the team management had decided that Irfan could play a key role for Pakistan in the World Cup and should be nursed through accordingly.

“He is injury prone and has had fitness issues and the feeling is it is best if he is kept for the shorter format of the game,” he added. Irfan and Umar Gul were not picked for the Test or one-dayers in Sri Lanka last week because of fitness issues. Irfan who come in at 7″ height has not played for Pakistan since last October when he suffered a hairline fracture in his hip bone while playing against South Africa in the UAE.

Pakistan which has a history of producing world class pace bowlers has struggled in this department since Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir were banned in early 2011 by the ICC for their involvement in spot fixing. Enigmatic fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar also retired during the 2011 World Cup, leaving the onus of the attack on Umar Gul who has struggled to cope with a knee problem for sometime now.

Asif and Aamir will only complete their bans in late 2015 and Irfan is now seen as the main strike bowler in the World Cup being played in Australia and New Zealand early next year.

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