ICL: Indian Cricket League

Inclusion of Shoaib: Damned if you do, damned if you do not!



National cricket officials are caught in a catch-22 situation over the inclusion of speedster Shoaib Akhtar in Pakistan’s squad on the ongoing tour of England.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official has admitted that the Board is in a dilemma over Shoaib’s participation in

the Test series against England that gets underway with the opening match from July 13 at Lord’s.

“We certainly need him (Shoaib) against England but in the meantime do not want to jeopardise the bowler’s international career by hastening his comeback,” said Abbas Zaidi, PCB’s Director of Board Operations.

Shoaib, 30, is currently fighting a race against time to get match fit after a recurring ankle stress fracture cost him a place in Pakistan’s 16-man squad for England last month.

Zaidi told ‘The News’ that Shoaib himself is confident of making a comeback during the Test contest against England.

Some of the specialists who have treated the enigmatic pacer agree that he has made encouraging progress in recent weeks in a bid to get fit but have warned that an early exposure to international cricket might come as a blow for Shoaib.

“Shoaib is our main strike bowler and obviously his injury came as a big blow,” said Zaidi. “Beating England in England will not be easy and to achieve that players like Shoaib can play a big role so there is a temptation that he be sent to join his teammates.

But the cost of doing that could be high, which is why it is a difficult decision to make,” said the PCB official.

Shoaib was advised six to eight weeks of rest last month after it was revealed that a fracture he suffered from in the series against England last fall hadn’t healed.

Zaidi said the bowler would be examined by a PCB medical commission within the next couple of days after which the Board would be in a better position to decide whether he could play against England in the Test series.

He said that if the medical commission gives a positive report on his condition then Shoaib could be sent to England for a more speedy recovery. “We could send him to England where they have post-injury rehabilitation facilities. We believe such an exercise can help him attain match fitness faster so that he can join the team sometimes during the Test series,” he said.

Zaidi stated that if Shoaib manages to pass a fitness test than he can play for Pakistan as early as in the second Test at Old Trafford from July 27.

Pakistan’s other injured pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan also faces a similar situation, as he is to undergo a fitness test later this week in a bid to make the playing eleven for the match at Old Trafford.

Rana suffered from a groin injury while playing a county game for Sussex and remains doubtful to play in the opening two Tests against England.

Source:The News

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