PCB chief rules out return of Shoaib during Test series


Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar M Khan on Tuesday ruled out Shoaib Akhtar’s comeback before the fourth Test at The Oval next month saying that the injured paceman still needs time to get match fit.

Shaharyar told ‘The News’ here that Shoaib is making rapid recovery from an ankle stress fracture but is still “far from being fit enough to play international cricket”.

The PCB chairman also revealed that the team and Board officials were trying to get Shoaib some club games in England early next month so that he can get some match practice ahead of any international comeback.

“We wanted Shoaib to play some matches in Pakistan but the problem is that there isn’t much cricket being played there at this time of the year. Now we are trying to find some good matches for him here in England,” he said.

He said that Shoaib would only be able to stake a claim for a Test return if he proves his fitness in those practice games.

Shoaib, 30, had earlier expressed plans to be fit in time for the second Test scheduled to get underway at Old Trafford from July 27.

But Shaharyar made it clear that it was not a possibility. He even ruled out the bowler’s chances of playing in he third Test at Leeds early in August saying that the best Shoaib can do is to feature in the final Test of the four-match series at The Oval and later in the five-match one-day contest.

Shoaib last played for Pakistan in the Karachi Test against India in January this year. He had been out of action during the best part of the last five months or so after undergoing a twin knee surgery in Australia in February.

He was named in a provisional Pakistan squad for England earlier this summer but was left out of the 16-man touring party after it was revealed that an earlier ankle fracture had not healed.

“Shoaib has been out of international cricket for quite some time and cannot just walk back in the squad. Such a step could be counter-productive so we would take our time before recalling him.”

Shaharyar said that Shoaib would arrive in England later this month to speed up his efforts for a Test return.

Speaking about another injured pacer Mohammad Asif, he confirmed that Pakistan were hoping that he might get fit for the opening Test getting underway from tomorrow (Thursday) at Lord’s.

“Asif is getting treatment for a tennis elbow and has a fifty percent chance of playing at Lord’s. It would be a setback for us if he is forced out of the match,” he said.
Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on July 12th, 2006 with no comments.
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