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Waqar to lead Pakistan today as knee problem subsides

KARACHI: Pakistan captain Waqar Younis will be leading the team in the second One-day International against South Africa on Wednesday having recovered from a knee injury problem.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources said that Waqar and the team management had conveyed to the board that he was now fit and had got over his knee problem.

The response came after the Board was concerned about Waqar's fitness in the first One-day International in which Pakistan was outclassed by the South Africans.

Sources said that the seasoned fast bowler had been struggling in recent weeks and played with his knee bandaged heavily and this restricted his movements and didn't allow him to go flat out.

"However, it has now been conveyed that he has taken proper medication and treatment and is fine," a source stated.

Pakistan is planning to make just one change in their eleven for the second match in Port Elizabeth, bringing in Faisal Iqbal in place of Taufeeq Umar while Shoaib Akhtar's return has been delayed further as he is not fully fit. The speedster missed the first match due to a ban served on him by match-referee Clive lloyd in Zimbabwe.

However, surprisingly there is still no plan to play all-rounder Shahid Afridi although it was obvious in the first match that Pakistan badly missed a sixth bowler and also a opener at the top willing to play with heart against the South African bowlers.

Critics have pointed out that the tour selectors would make a big mistake in persisting with Saleem Elahi whose technique and shaky temperament were exposed in the first match on a bouncy track and against a quality attack despite his hard struggle to make 31 runs.

"The team management would be better advised to try Afridi who on his day can take any attack apart and is also a very good bowler capable of getting wickets," a critic said.

"Instead of allowing Waqar and the tour selectors to play with the prestige of the nation by giving preference to personal likes and dislikes over team interests, the PCB should pull them up before it is too late," a former Test player insisted.

Pak squad for today's match: Waqar Younis (captain), Inzamam-ul-Haq (vice captain), Yousuf Youhana, Saleem Elahi, Younis Khan, Wasim Akram, Abdur Razzaq, Rashid Latif, Faisal Iqbal, Saqlain Mushtaq, Muhammad Sami and Shahid Afridi (12th man).

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