The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has termed reports about the fitness of captain Misbah-ul-Haq and paceman Junaid Khan as ‘nonsense’, reiterating that both players were vital to Pakistan’s prospects at the World Cup.
Misbah and Junaid, both of whom were suffering from hamstring injuries, were part of the training camp for the World Cup. And though Junaid suffered a relapse and was advised further rest, Misbah took part in all training sessions at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, PCB’s senior media manager Raza Kitchlew said.
“Reports claiming that Junaid was no longer part of Pakistan World Cup plans are unsubstantiated. He’s going through rehabilitation for his injury and as soon as the doctor advises, he will be flying out,” Kitchlew said.
Kitchlew also concurred with chairman Shahryar Khan’s earlier statement on Misbah in which the PCB boss once again threw his weight behind the captain, quashing all rumours about his fitness.
“Misbah is fit. He took part in all training sessions for the World Cup and will be leading the side.”
Shaharyar Khan on Tuesday approved Bhatti’s inclusion in Pakistan’s squad for a short ODI series against New Zealand on the condition that Misbah will play the right-arm fast bowler in all four matches in New Zealand to judge his form. The development sparked rumours that Junaid had been ruled out of the World Cup.
Paceman Junaid was due to make a comeback in international cricket since last playing against Sri Lanka in August. He missed the series against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates due to a knee injury.
Pakistan will be playing two ODIs against New Zealand on January 31 at Wellington, and February 3 at Napier.
They get their World Cup campaign underway on February 15 against India in Adelaide, Australia.
Pakistan’s key bowlers, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, have already been ruled out of the World Cup due to injury and suspension respectively.