Karachi: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is hoping unheralded fast bowler Mohammad Irfan gets the go ahead for the World Twenty20 championship beginning in Guyana from April 30.
Shahid Afridi feels the 6ft 8inch tall Irfan can be a "surprise weapon" for Pakistan in the tournament.
But even after voting in favour of picking the 27-year-old left-arm pacer from Gaggu Mandi as a replacement for injured all-rounder Yasir Arafat, Afridi is unsure whether Irfan will be able to leave with the touring party April 24.
"His selection in the team is still subject to approval from the PCB chairman," Afridi told The News Monday.
"We don’t know whether we will get permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow him in the Twenty20 World Cup because we have selected him out of the 30-man preliminary squad.
"Then we don’t know whether he will get a British visa in time to leave with us. We don’t even know whether this boy has a passport."
Irfan is a surprise selection and made it to the 15-man squad after most fast bowlers in the preliminary squad got injured during what was a strenuous training camp that concluded at the National Cricket Academy Sunday. If he manages to catch a flight to the Caribbean in time, he would be the tallest fast bowler competing in the World Twenty20 championship.
"Most of the fast bowlers got injured. We lost Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat and Wahab Riaz is also unfit. We needed a fast bowler and we were told about this tall pacer, who has made quite an impression on the batsmen, who have faced him on the domestic circuit," said Afridi.
Afridi himself faced Irfan and believes he has in him to shine on the international stage.
"I’ve faced him. He is really good. We can actually use him as a surprise package in the Twenty20 World Cup. He is quite fast but it's his height that can really trouble a lot of batsmen. He extracts good bounce. We are hoping that he overcomes the few hurdles which are still there and is with us in the West Indies."
Afridi, 30, also spoke highly of Mohammad Sami, who is now set to finally make his debut in Twenty20 Internationals.
"Sami is looking good. He has shown his strength and commitment in the camp and is bubbling with energy. I’m expecting him to do well in the World Cup," said Afridi.