Cricket: Aqib injury worry

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PAKISTAN have encountered injury trouble as they prepare for their opening World Series one- day match against the West Indies in Perth tomorrow. Aqib Javed, the 21-year-old Hampshire fast bowler, will miss the day-night game because of a stress fracture in his lower back.

The trouble was revealed yesterday, when Aqib had a scan at a Perth clinic. He has been receiving attention from Dr Phil Hardcastle, the surgeon who performed the intricate back surgery which enabled the Australian fast bowler, Bruce Reid, to return to Test duty. Australia are the third team in the World Series.

Aqib's injury is not serious, and he could be back in action in a few days, Colonel Naushad Ali, the team manager, said. 'We are relieved that the injury is minor,' Naushad said. 'We will not be sending him home and seeking a replacement from Pakistan.'

Aqib took part in light training with the Pakistani players last night, when the floodlights were switched on at the WACA Ground to allow the team to familiarise themselves with the conditions. The 17-year-old Ata-ur-Rehman is expected to make his one-day international debut, joining an attack led by the fearsome Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.