KARACHI: The national selection committee headed by Haroon Rasheed has prevented Muhammad Irfan from appearing in any Ramazan T20 tournaments as it wants to preserve the lanky pacer for important one-day series coming up against Sri Lanka.
Irfan has just returned from an injury and played in the recently concluded T20 event in Faisalabad for Omar Associates and impressed the selectors.
The pacer had suffered a recurrence of a problematic hip injury and was ruled out of Pakistan’s World Cup quarter-final against co-hosts Australia.
Since then, he has been on rehab and was not part of Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh where the men in green succumbed to their first-ever series loss at the hands of Bangladesh, who won the ODI series 3-0 as well as the one-off T20I.
The selectors also snubbed him for the first home series in six years against Zimbabwe and the 33-year-old was only limited to the nets in Lahore.
“Irfan will be key for the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka and we want to preserve him for that challenge,” a selection committee member told The Express Tribune. “We saw him bowling in a T20 tournament in Faisalabad and he looked sharp. However, we’ve now told him that he can’t play in anymore tournaments as we can’t take any risks ahead of the Sri Lanka series.”
Pakistan are already sweating over the fitness of Wahab Riaz and Haris Sohail before the 50-over series as both have been ruled out for two to three weeks.
With doubts over Wahab, Pakistan have been shorn of a pace spearhead and the selectors are hoping Irfan will once again be able to fill the slot. “We’ve already lost Wahab for a few weeks and in that scenario a fit-again Irfan is a must for the side. It’s a crucial series against the Islanders and we must win it to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy,” added the official.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2015.
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