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Irfan not playing tests, focusing on '15 World Cup

Associated Press
Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan listens to a reporters question at Qaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Irfan is focusing on next year's World Cup and wants to concentrate on one-day internationals and Twenty20s ahead of 2015 mega event in Australia and New Zealand. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
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Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan listens to a reporters question at Qaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, …

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan no longer wants to play test cricket so he can manage his health to play in the 2015 World Cup.

The 2.16-metre (7-foot-1) Irfan has been sidelined from international cricket for nearly seven months since injuring his hip during a Twenty20 against South Africa in Dubai last November.

"I have to manage my workload, and playing test cricket is an added pressure, therefore I have decided to play Twenty20s and one-day internationals only," Irfan said on Tuesday.

"I have to get myself tied up for a longer run this time and ensure that I won't get dropped."

Pakistan's next international assignment is against Sri Lanka in August, then against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates.

Irfan made his test debut against South Africa last year. All four of his tests have been against the Proteas in 2013, during which he took 10 wickets before injuring his hip when he fell in his follow through.

He bowled around 66 overs in two tests against South Africa in the heat of the UAE before he broke down.

His rehabilitation has been closely monitored by the Pakistan Cricket Board, and medical reports suggested in April that his hairline fracture could be healed without a surgery.

Irfan took part in a month-long training camp in Lahore, and camp leader Mohammad Akram indicated that the tall fast bowler could make an international comeback in the series against Australia in October.

"I am disappointed for missing a lot of cricket, but I am working hard on my fitness so that I should go a long way without breaking down," Irfan said.

Last week, former Pakistan seamer Sarfraz Nawaz also visited the training camp and advised Irfan to focus on limited-overs matches instead of tests to maintain his fitness.

Without Irfan, Pakistan struggled in Bangladesh this year when it failed to retain the Asia Cup title and was knocked out in the group stages of the World Twenty20.

But the bouncy pitches in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup could give Pakistan an edge if Irfan competes. He agrees.

"Australia pitches ... suit me," he said. "If I managed to get 100 percent fitness, I am sure I could win matches there single-handedly."

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