Irfan sent home after cramp debacle

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been sent home after cramps prevented him from bowling more than five overs in the fourth ODI against England at Headingley.

Irfan’s position in the T20 squad will be taken by Hasan Ali.

The PCB has issued a statement indicating that Irfan’s cramps began in his hamstrings before spreading to his lower legs and the quick has been sent back home to work on his fitness.

The paceman had looked promising on his return, claiming the scalps of both England openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy but he left the field shortly after completing his spell.

The quick returned but was only able to bowl one ball, a wide, before leaving the field and not returning.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur voiced his frustration at the situation but defended the recall of Irfan.

Pakistan’s bowling coach Azhar Mahmood commented: “Definitely Mickey was unhappy and as bowling coach I was unhappy as well. We had a chance to win that game the other day.

“Unfortunately, everyone gets cramp. He is a big guy and his body is totally different to a normal human. But he got cramps.”

Mahmood defended the bowling unit’s performance in the series so far: “They bowled really well [at Headingley] and if Irfan wasn’t getting cramps, it was a different ball game.

“Definitely, we didn’t bowl well enough in Nottingham. If you see Trent Bridge, every score is at least 381 in the last 50 over-games. Unfortunately we didn’t bowl well, but we are working hard on our skills, our line and length and all disciplines.

“We didn’t bowl any no-balls in the last game, we bowled five beforehand so this is a positive and we have a young guy, Hasan Ali, who is promising.

“He has shown some grit and we see Umar Gul is back. He didn’t bowl well in Southampton but he has come back – it’s totally different when you are playing in a match and in a tough situation. Under pressure, you do different things, you know.”