Karachi: Pakistan suffered another blow ahead of their tour to New Zealand after left-arm pacer Junaid Khan was ruled out with a stress fracture injury. Junaid, who featured prominently in the Pakistan pace battery in their Champions Trophy triumph this year and in subsequent international matches as well, has been advised at least four weeks rest.
"A scan has confirmed that he has an unhealed stress fracture in his foot which requires at least four weeks of healing period," a Pakistan Cricket Board official said.
Junaid apparently suffered the injury while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League for Khulna Titans. He complained of pain after returning to Pakistan and scans showed he had a stress fracture.
The 27-year-old Junaid, who has appeared in 22 Tests and 66 ODIs, has been injury prone in the past as well and had missed a tour to New Zealand and then the 2015 World Cup after being injured during nets.
Pakistan has already lost another left-arm pacer, Usman Shinwari to a stress fracture of the back ahead of the New Zealand tour where Pakistan will play a five-match ODI from January 6 followed by three T20 matches between January 22 and 28.
Pakistani selectors led by former captain, Inzamam-ul Haq are due to watch the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final in Karachi to access the fitness of some players before announcing the final squad for New Zealand.
Batsmen Azhar Ali and Muhammad Hafeez, however, have been cleared for the tour. Azhar also had injured his knee in September and underwent treatment in England but has made a strong comeback with a hundred in the tournament.
Both will feature in the final for their domestic team, Sui Northern Gas. In Junaid and Usman's absence, Sohail Khan and Muhammad Irfan stand a good chance of making the tour to New Zealand.
The selectors, however, appear to be inclined to include young left-arm pacer, Mir Hamza who has bowled extremely well in domestic cricket and also for Pakistan in the limited chances he has got.