9 Feb 2015

India, Pakistan suffer injury blows before World Cup

12:00 pm on 9 February 2015

India fast bowler Ishant Sharma and Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez have been ruled out of the Cricket World Cup.

Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ishant, suffering from a knee injury, will be replaced by Mohit Sharma in the defending champions' inexperienced pace attack, the International Cricket Council confirmed in a statement on Sunday.

The Indian pace bowler missed the final test in the series against Australia in early January because of the knee injury he had sustained during the Boxing Day test, and has not played since.

Mohit, also 26, had arrived in Australia only for the tri-series also involving England. He has played 12 ODIs and taken 10 wickets at an average of 40.50 with his right-arm medium pace since his debut against Zimbabwe in 2013.

India's lack of a strong pace attack to make the most of the Australasian wickets is expected to be a major hindrance to their quest to retain the title they won in spin-friendly conditions on home soil in 2011.

There was better news for India's other injury concerns with batsman Rohit Sharma (hamstring), seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (ankle) and all rounder Ravindra Jadeja (shoulder) all passing fitness tests.

India open their defence of the trophy against Pakistan in Adelaide next Sunday.

Pakistan have also suffered an injury blow before the World Cup with the allrounder Mohammad Hafeez ruled out with a calf muscle injury.

Mohammad Hafeez

Mohammad Hafeez Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hafeez, who's scored more than 4,500 runs and taken 122 wickets in one-day internationals, is the second Pakistan player to be ruled out of the World Cup, after the left-arm pace bowler Junaid Khan pulled out with a hamstring injury.

Hafeez, whose bowling action has been ruled illegal, was due to undergo an official bowling assessment on Feb 16 in Brisbane.

Pakistan open their World Cup campaign against India on Sunday in Adelaide.

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