Hip injury to leave Pakistan without Mohammad Irfan for World Twenty20, Gul to return

The tall fast bowler will not have recovered by the tournament, said captain Mohammad Hafeez. Pakistan's pace attack will be supplemented, though, by the return of fit-again Umar Gul.

Mohammad Irfan's fast-bowling presence is expected to be replaced by Umar Gul at the World Twenty20 for Pakistan. Satish Kumar / The National
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Captain Mohammad Hafeez says Pakistan will miss tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan in the World Twenty20 after the 2.16-metre (7-foot-1) paceman could not recover from a hip injury.

Irfan was hurt during the limited-overs series against South Africa in October, and will also miss the Asia Cup, followed by the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month.

“Irfan will be missed because his first two overs could be lethal, but it’s an opportunity for others to come and make an impact,” Hafeez said on Wednesday.

The fast bowling has been beefed up with the return of fit-again Umar Gul, who has fully recovered from a knee injury, and will be supplemented by left-armer Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali.

The spinning trio of Shahid Afridi, Zulfiqar Babar and Saeed Ajmal could also pose a real threat on the slow pitches of Bangladesh.

“We have a very good (bowling) combination according to the conditions,” Hafeez said. “We have world-class spinners along with experience of Umar Gul ... the selectors have picked a very good team.”

Hafeez also backed the decision to recall wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik for the World Twenty20, as he pointed out the youngsters hadn’t performed in the recent past.

“Unfortunately, players on whom we relied, like Umar Amin, couldn’t perform,” Hafeez said. “You need experience (for major events) so that’s why Kamran Akmal has been included.”

Pakistan will be defending the Asia Cup title they won in 2012 by defeating Bangladesh in the final by two runs, but Hafeez said there’s no favourite when the tournament starts on February 25.