The finger injury to Sachin Tendulkar will not only keep him out of the tri-nation tournament in Bangladesh but also from all international engagements for two months.
Tendulkar, the top-scorer at the World Cup with a record 673 runs, says his finger needs to be operated upon, and it will take two months for him to return to action.
The master batsman, who attended a felicitation function at the Sahara Lake City along with the rest of the World Cup squad, had already requested the BCCI not to pick him for the Dhaka tournament, starting on April 11.
Pakistan's top cricket body said it hopes the country's starless cricket squad will do well in this week's four-nation tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan will play its first Sharjah Cup match against Zimbabwe on April 3, still hurting from its failure to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals, which led to a drastic shake-up of the team.
The Pakistan Cricket Board sidelined several senior players. Former captain Waqar Younis, vice-captain Inzamam-ul Haq, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi all will miss Sharjah and some were advised to "rest for some time".
The board has appointed former Test captain Javed Miandad as the new coach, and named the experienced Rashid Latif, 34, as captain. The team also has a new manager, Haroon Rasheed, a former hard-hitting batsman. Former opener Aamir Sohail heads the cricket board's new selection committee.
"If we win in Sharjah, it will be a huge bonus," Samiul Hasan, a spokesman for the board, told the Associated Press. "We have to be patient with this young team," he said.
Among the new players are fast bowler Umer Gul, who has been compared to Australia's Glen McGrath. All-rounder Rana Naved-ul Hasan and opener Muhammad Hafeez will also make their international cricket debut.
South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis has withdrawn from the tour of Bangladesh because of an illness in his family.
Although Kallis was not immediately available for comment, it is known that his father has been ill for some time.
"Our thoughts are with Jacques at this difficult time and we wish him well," United Cricket Board of South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said in a media statement on Wednesday.
"Should his circumstances allow it and he wishes to join up with the team later in the tour, he will be welcome to."
South Africa confirmed on Tuesday the tour would go ahead after receiving assurances over the team's security. The war in Iraq had prompted speculation it might be cancelled.
Sports Minister Vikram Verma reiterated that until and unless relations between India and Pakistan become normal the government would not send the cricket team to tour the neighbouring country nor will it allow Pakistan to visit India.
"Unless the Home ministry gives permission to the team, it will not play in Pakistan," Verma told reporters.
Surprise semi-finalists Kenya can show their World Cup run was no flash in the pan in the four-nation Sharjah Cup which gets under way on Thursday.
The Kenyans are still on a high after their stunning progress to the last four in southern Africa, but Pakistan and Zimbabwe will be hoping to block out recent criticism as they try to win the first post-Cup tournament with new-look sides. The other team in the event is Sri Lanka.
"The tournament provides us with an ideal opportunity to find right combinations after the exit of senior players," Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak, whose side play Pakistan in the opening match, told Reuters.
"I know it's not easy to find replacements overnight for players like Andy Flower, Guy Whittall and Henry Olonga, who have retired after the World Cup, but the young players will have some incentives to cement their places in the team."
Media manager Lovemore Banda said. "Besides the youngsters in the team, the tournament offers Grant Flower a chance to come out and be the player that he is."
Pakistan all-rounder Wasim Akram has signed a one-year deal to play for Hampshire, the English county side said on Wednesday.
Akram replaces banned Australian leg spinner Shane Warne as the county's second overseas player for the 2003 season. Australian batsman Simon Katich is also at the club. Warne had signed a two-year contract with Hampshire but was suspended in February for 12 months after testing positive for banned diuretics.
The 33-year-old returned home from South Africa before Australia's first match of the World Cup after he admitted taking a fluid-reducing pill given to him by his mother to help him slim.
Wasim, who enjoyed a successful county career with Lancashire from 1988 to 1998, said he was looking forward to a fresh challenge.
"I was impressed by the enthusiasm and ideas shown by Hampshire and am delighted to join such a progressive county," Wasim said in a statement on Hampshire's web site.
"For me it is a fresh challenge and a new chapter in my career. The aim is for Hampshire to gain promotion in both competitions this year and I hope to be able to play a part in that ambition