ISLAMABAD: Green-shirts face another setback as pacer Junaid Khan has been ruled out for four weeks due to a stress fracture of the foot ahead of their limited-overs tour to New Zealand.
Pakistan’s five-ODI series in New Zealand begins on January 6, with the three T20s set to be played between January 22 and 28.
Talking to reporter, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said the national team for the NZ tour will be announced on December 23 or 24 after conducting fitness tests of players in Lahore.
“Junaid won’t be included in the squads and his replacement will be decided after the fitness tests of players,” he said.
Junaid fractured his right foot during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in November. He reportedly hit a ball onto his foot while playing for Khulna Titans in the BPL, and the latest assessment confirmed an unhealed stress fracture, for which the Pakistan Cricket Board’s medical panel, headed by Dr Sohail Saleem, advised the 27-year-old bowler another four weeks’ rest.
According to espncricinfo.com, the Pakistan selectors are expected to announce a squad later this week, with the team’s departure scheduled for December 26. Junaid is the second injury concern for selectors after Usman Shinwari, another left-arm quick, was sidelined by a stress fracture of the back last month.
The injuries could boost the comeback prospects of fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Khan. Irfan was barred from all forms of cricket for a year with six months suspended in March, after failing to report details of two approaches to corrupt the game.
The injury means Junaid’s likely T20 comeback is set to be delayed. The bowler, who last played a T20 in 2014 and a Test in 2015, has struggled with injury in the past. In 2014, he missed matches on the tour of New Zealand due to a thigh injury and was later ruled out of the 2015 World Cup, before making a return again later that year on the tour of Bangladesh.