Karachi: Pakistan today suffered a major blow ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup with pace bowler Junaid Khan being ruled out of the event after failing a fitness test following a hamstring injury.
Junaid, who appeared for a test in Lahore today, could not prove his fitness as he is yet to recover from a hamstring injury. The Pakistan Cricket Board subsequently announced that the paceman was ruled out of the mega event, starting from February 14 in Australia and New Zealand.
"Junaid appeared for a fitness test today but couldn't clear it and he is ruled out of the World Cup," a PCB statement said.
Disappointed to have missed out on the upcoming World Cup, Junaid said he had been preparing hard for it. "Unfortunately, it is not in my destiny to play this World Cup but I wish the Pakistan team all the best in the tournament.
"I have been hit by injuries since last year. I have tried my best to overcome them but I can't go into a World Cup not being 100 per cent fit and it would be letting the team down," Junaid said.
The 25-year old, who has taken 65 Test and 75 ODI wickets, sustained a knee injury during the practice session before the one-day series against Australia, which forced him to return home from the UAE. Janaid made a comeback in a national one-day championship last month, capturing five wickets in his team's victory in the final as captain and was named in the final World Cup squad. But he suffered the freak hamstring injury while training in Lahore before the team left for New Zealand.
The board had not sent him to New Zealand because of the hamstring injury and named Bilawal Bhatti as his replacement.
But it is not clear whether Bilawal will replace Junaid in the World Cup squad also. Pakistan are already reeling without their champion off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who is suspended from bowling in international cricket, while it is still not clear if Muhammad Hafeez will be cleared to bowl in the World Cup after he was also suspended for an illegal action in November.