Bilawal to replace Junaid Khan for New Zealand tour


Injured Pakistan pacer Junaid Khan has been replaced by Bilalwal Bhatti for New Zealand tour, where Pakistan will be playing two ODIs against the hosts.

“If Junaid recovers fitness, he will join the World Cup squad”, said Chief Selector Moin Khan.

On reexamining Junaid’s condition, Team Pakistan physiotherapist Brad Robinson and PCB’s head of Medical & Sports Sciences Dr. Sohail Saleem concurred that he had not recovered sufficiently from the traction injury of the nerve in the posterior right thigh and recommended recuperation at the NCA. Subsequently the left-arm fast bowler was withdrawn from the New Zealand tour.

“After the injury report of Junaid Khan by the team physio [Brad Robbinson] that he will not be able to travel to New Zealand due to his injury and will stay back in Pakistan for immediate rehabilitation under the supervision of Dr Sohail Saleem at the NCA, I discussed the issue with the Chairman and other concerned Board officials,” Moin Khan said.

“The Chairman has considered and approved the request of the skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to include Bilawal Bhatti in the team under the condition that Bilawal Bhatti will play all scheduled matches in New Zealand.

“The decision for his selection will be considered in accordance with his performance as to whether he may continue or be replaced. It is, however, clarified that if Junaid Khan regains fitness, he will join the World Cup squad as announced on January 7, 2015.”

Injury prone Junaid recently recovered from a knee-injury and performed brilliantly in domestic tournament Pentangular Cup earlier this month, leading his team KP Fighters to title triumph. But few days back, during practice session, Junaid again picked a another injury. However, initial doctor’s report said that the injury was minor and it was expected that the bowler would recover soon.

Pakistan cricket team will be leaving tonight for New Zealand with the first ODI to be played on January 31 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. The second ODI would be played on February 3 at McLean Park, Napier.