Injured Hussain doubtful for crucial game vs Pakistan
Published: Friday, February 21, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Cape Town: England captain Nasser Hussain could miss Saturday's key World Cup match against Pakistan after a strained neck showed no signs of improving. Scans conducted on the neck did not reveal how serious the injury was, team officials said on Thursday, but Hussain's progress was being monitored closely. A final decision on whether Hussain will play against Pakistan was unlikely to be made before Saturday morning to give him sufficient time to recover. The 34-year-old opted out of Wednesday's match against Namibia in Port Elizabeth because of the injury and was replaced as captain by Alec Stewart. It was the first One-day International Hussain missed in nearly two years, a run spanning 32 successive matches after he was rested for the penultimate match in the five-game series against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2000. Hussain's continued absence would be a severe blow for England after Namibia gave them a fright despite the 55-run defeat. Chasing England's 272 all out from 50 overs, Namibia batted the full distance before finishing on 217 for nine. There were also injury worries for left-arm spinner Ashley Giles (tonsils) and all- rounder Ian Blackwell (sprained back). Having forfeited the Zimbabwe match, England must win at least two of its three key games against Pakistan, Australia and India to have a chance of qualifying for the Super Six round.