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'Junaid the X-factor in Pak bowling'

Press Trust Of India
Feb 09, 2011 at 11:32pm IST

Karachi: Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam rued the absence of Sohail Tanvir in the World Cup squad but felt the left-arm pacer's replacement, Junaid Khan, could be used as a surprise package on the sub-continental wickets.

"It is a blow to lose an experienced bowler so close to the World Cup but Junaid is a good prospect and bowls with pace. He could be useful on the tracks in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh," Alam said.

"One could not rule out the surprise element that Junaid would bring to the World Cup squad," he said.

Junaid Khan the X-factor in Pak bowling: Alam

The rookie fast bowler will add a surprise element to the team, says Alam.

Alam also pointed out that the 21-year-old pacer is no stranger to international cricket, having played for Pakistan 'A' and under-19 teams.

Junaid hails from Matra in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, and has taken 167 wickets from 35 first class matches for Abbotabad.

The Pakistan team management was forced to review its World Cup plans after Tanvir was dropped from the squad due to fitness issues.

"We don't want half-fit players in the side and Tanvir has struggled with his knee problem even in New Zealand," Alam told reporters in Lahore.

He said that the team management had asked the medical panel of the board to look at Tanvir's fitness, and the panel felt he was not 100 per cent fit for the World Cup.

Junaid, meanwhile, said he was ecstatic to get a chance to play for Pakistan in a big event like World Cup.

"Imran Khan has always been my inspiration and idol and if I get a chance to play a match, I will try to impress everyone and work hard," Junaid said.

The PCB had earlier said in a statement that Junaid will replace Tanvir who was yet to recover from a knee injury.

"The medical panel opined that though the recovery from a knee operation was good, during the (New Zealand) tour it was observed that quick movements and pickup with weight particularly on the operated knee is hindering his mobility and requires him to take a few extra steps to balance himself before throwing," the PCB statement read.

In the absence of Tanvir, Pakistan's pace attack would now comprise of Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.

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