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Injured Junaid Khan still hoping to play in World Cup

Karachi: Pakistan pacer Junaid Khan, who got married in his hometown of Swabi on Monday, is still hoping to play in the World Cup, despite being ruled out due to a hamstring injury.

Junaid said he was making a quick recovery from his injury.

"When I was ruled out of the tournament last week I was at 50 percent fitness but the rehabilitation and recovery has been very good after that and presently I am at 70 percent fitness," he told PTI.

"I just want to regain my fitness as soon as possible so that if a chance comes up to play in this World Cup I can be considered as a replacement player," he said.

Pakistan has already been forced to make two replacements to their World Cup squad with Junaid first being replaced by Rahat Ali and then Muhammad Hafeez making way for out-of-form opener, Nasir Jamshed.

Nasir and Rahat both flew out to Australia late Monday night.

Junaid, 25, has married Khansa Khan, 18, a British national after being engaged to her last year. "It is a big moment in my life but I will be reporting at the national cricket academy on Thursday to regain my rehabilitation process because I am praying I get a chance to still play in this World Cup," he said.

The left arm pacer has had a hard last few months as he had to return home from Dubai before the ODI series against Australia last September due to a knee injury.

He recovered to return to domestic cricket by leading his province, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa to the Pentangular Cup one-day title with five wickets in the final and was named in the World Cup squad.

But just few days before leaving for New Zealand, Junaid suffered a hamstring injury during practice in Lahore.

"It has been tough dealing with these injuries but it is part of a professional cricketer's life and with a new phase of my life starting I am hoping for better luck," Junaid said.

The left armer said his job was to work on his fitness and be ready for a call up if it came.

"The rest is fate and there is also lot of cricket after the World Cup," he noted.

Junaid said he would have loved to play against India in the tournament opener but would now watch the match on television and cheer on his side.

"We have some mentally strong players and I believe they will raise their game against India," he added.

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