Pakistan get Yasir scare, Finn out for England

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We are looking into the injury and hope that he is okay by tomorrow morning, Misbahul Haq said 

ABU DHABI: Pakistan’s chances of defeating England in Tuesday’s opening Test match in Abu Dhabi suffered a blow on Monday when key leg-spinner Yasir Shah suffered a back spasm during practice.

The 29-year-old Shah stumbled in his follow-through and apparently hurt his back.

“Yasir’s injury is a concern and could be a jolt,” skipper Misbah-ul-Haq told a press conference on Monday. “We are looking into it and hope that he is okay by tomorrow morning.”

Pakistan are relying heavily on Shah and fellow left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar to win the three-match series in the United Arab Emirates.

Shah took 24 wickets in Pakistan’s 2-1 win in the Tests in Sri Lanka in July and was seen as the dangerman for England, who were routed 3-0 by spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman here in 2012.

“Obviously he (Shah) is a key player for us but we are hoping for the best,” said Misbah. “We are looking into calling one of the two left-arm spinners who played in the warm-up game in Sharjah.”

Pakistan are already without key batsman Azhar Ali, ruled out of the match with a foot infection. His place is likely to go to Shoaib Malik, who has not played a Test for five years.

Azhar’s absence will put more pressure on Younis Khan, Misbah and Sarfraz Ahmed to shoulder the batting.

Younis amassed 468 runs against Australia and hit a match-winning 171 not out in Pakistan’s last Test in Sri Lanka, leaving him just 19 behind Pakistan’s highest tally of 8,832 set by Javed Miandad.

Pakistan have been forced to play in the UAE due to security fears at home but have never lost a series here, winning four and drawing three.

Misbah admitted England are more prepared this time.

“I think they are more prepared and know what mistakes they committed the last time so we need to also focus and improve our performance. We have to be at our best to be up there.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s cricketer convert commentator Rameez Raja, tweeted “As Yasir Shah is unlikely to perform in the first test, Zafar Gohar will join the team today as cover.”

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