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Have Pakistan missed a World Cup trick with latest injury scare?

| 08.02.2015

First Junaid Khan’s hopes of representing his country at the cricket World Cup were dashed through injury, now opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez has suffered the same fate.

The right-handed top-order batsman suffered an ankle injury in the lead up to the tournament and was forced to withdraw from Pakistan’s 15 man squad, following seamer Khan through the exit door after the quick failed to recover from a thigh strain.

With just six days to go before the World Cup gets underway, these are hardly ideal preparations for a country rated as 16/1 outsiders for glory and, with the squad broken through injuries, it may be that the Pakistan Cricket Board have missed a trick in naming Hafeez’s replacement.

The side’s premier spin bowler, Saeed Ajmal was recently declared fit to bowl in international cricket again having passed the ICC test of his reformed action, making him available for World Cup selection should an injury occur.

However, with a golden opportunity to pick their best player presented to them, the PCB have opted for a like-for-like replacement in selecting opening batsman Nasir Jamshed as Hafeez’s substitute.

Although that plugs a hole at the top of the order, it’s clear that Pakistan have a greater chance of a strong World Cup showing with Ajmal in the side.

Having been banned from bowling by the ICC because his action failed to meet their requirements, the 37-year-old has worked incredibly hard to remodel his deliveries and was cleared in a test this weekend.

However, as he has not played any competitive cricket since August, the PCB have clearly erred on the side of caution in plumping for Jamshed instead, which could be a move they later regret with hindsight.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.