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07 December 2023

Blow for Pakistan as Junaid ruled out of World Cup

Pakistan's Junaid Khan, centre, reacts after bowling out Ireland's Kevin O'Brien, left, during the One Day International Cricket Series match at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland. (AP)

By Reuters

Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan has been ruled out of the World Cup after failing a fitness test on a hamstring injury.

"Junaid has been found not fit to play in the World Cup," a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said on Monday.

Junaid was due to leave with the Pakistan team for New Zealand last month but the PCB held him back and sent Bilawal Bhatti instead.

"Junaid had sustained a hamstring injury while bowling during the short conditioning camp in Lahore prior to the team's departure for New Zealand," the spokesman said.

Junaid, 25, has been Pakistan's leading paceman in the last two years with 65 Test and 75 one-day international wickets.

"It is very disappointing to miss out on such a major event but I don't want to let anyone down and can't play without being 100 per cent fit," Junaid told Reuters.

"I tried my best to make a full recovery but I am still not comfortable while bowling," he said.

Pakistan were already without leading spinner Saeed Ajmal who is suspended for an illegal bowling action and there are  doubts over whether all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez will be allowed to bowl.