LAHORE

In the wake of injury to all-rounder M Hafeez, which ruled him out for at least two weeks, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar M Khan has endorsed the request for his replacement with opener Sami Aslam and left-arm slow bowler Zulfiqar Babar.

The replacements were unanimously suggested by the team management, led by Moin Khan, manager/chief selector and seconded by head coach Waqar Younis and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.

While playing the second practice game at Sharjah on October 3, Hafeez received an injury in his left palm webbing which required five stitches. The physio’s report suggested minimum two weeks rest, which ruled him out of the limited-overs part of the series against Australia. The team management had thus unanimously decided that there was no point in retaining him on the tour.

As his replacement, the team management had requested for Sami Aslam to fill-up the opener’s slot. Sami was already in the UAE, so he joins the squad straightaway. Hafeez’s all-round capability had left the team short of a spinner. To fill that void, left-arm slow bowler Zulfiqar Babar too has been retained as the third spin option.

Pakistan chief selector Moin Khan said Hafeez's loss was a big blow, just a day before the lone Twenty20 in Dubai on Sunday. "Hafeez is an important player for us in Twenty20 and one-days," Moin said. "He injured his webbing and has been advised to take a two week rest."  Khan said U-19 captain and opener Sami Aslam and left-arm slow bowler Zulfiqar Babar would be included for the limited over series. Hafeez has so far played 149 one-dayers and 58 Twenty20 internationals, having taken 122 and 45 wickets in these formats respectively. He has also scored 4338 one-day and 1305 runs in Twenty20 cricket.