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Afridi doubtful for Pakistan's T20 series with Australia

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Tue, Sep 04, 2012 17:04 hrs
Afridi

All-rounder Shahid Afridi is a major injury doubt for Pakistan ahead of their Twenty20 series against Australia in Dubai.

"You must have witnessed it yesterday -- Shahid had a thumb injury, where his left thumb was wounded quite badly, the skin tore off and blood was oozing quite profusely," team manager Colonel Naveed Akram Cheema told reporters on Tuesday.

"He's received about two stitches. The doctors intend to examine the intensity of the wound (and) how far can it be healed.

"We haven't taken a decision yet (on whether he will be fit for the first match on Wednesday)."

Afridi had the injury bandaged and was able to complete his 10-over spell in Monday night's third and final one-day international in Sharjah, but his bowling was ineffective and he took 0-62 as Australia won the match by three wickets to seal a 2-1 series win.

The absence of Afridi, who missed last Friday's second match of the ODI series with a back injury, would be a major blow to Pakistan as both sides prepare for the ICC World Twenty20 that starts in Sri Lanka in less than two weeks.

Afridi was man of the match in the semi-final and final when Pakistan won the World Twenty20 tournament in 2009 in England, and he has taken more wickets in the shortest international format of the game than any other player in history - 58.

If Afridi is absent, more responsibility is likely to fall on his fellow spinner Saeed Ajmal and also fast bowler Umar Gul, recalled after being left out of the ODIs.

Gul (55) and Ajmal (54) are second and third on the list of all-time Twenty20 international wicket-takers behind Afridi, but captain Mohammed Hafeez said his side's hopes would depend on the team rather than individual brilliance.

"Yes, Umar Gul is a match winner and he has done a great job for Pakistan over the years, but everyone has to play their role to win a game and we're not depending on one particular player," Hafeez said.

Australia welcome back 19-year-old fast bowler Patrick Cummins after the latest in a series of injury problems that has restricted him to six limited-overs matches since he took seven wickets on his Test debut against South Africa last November.

"It's going to be particularly important, especially once we get to Sri Lanka (for the World Twenty20) to have that genuine out-and-out pace," Australia captain George Bailey told reporters.

"It makes it hard for teams to settle, and there's no doubt that Patrick's got that express pace. He's well skilled with his changes of pace, his slower ball and his bumper, which is very good, and a very good yorker.

"For someone so young I think his execution is outstanding, and he gives us great versatility as he's someone who can bowl at the top, through the middle or at the back-end of the game."

Australia have opted to keep fellow fast bowler Alister McDermott with the squad for the Twenty20 internationals.

McDermott, the son of former Australia fast bowler Craig, was called up as a replacement for Clint McKay after the latter suffered a hamstring strain during a pre-tour training camp, and although McKay is now fit again, McDermott, 21, will stay on.

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