ICL: Indian Cricket League

Players failing fitness test will not go to World Cup


Pakistan’s World Cup-bound players would appear before a medical commission in Lahore early next week to go through a comprehensive fitness test before leaving for the West Indies, writes Khalid Hussain.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told ‘The News’ on Friday that the fitness tests may take a couple of days and would take place on February 27-28.

Saleem Altaf, PCB’s Director of Operations, said that any player failing to pass the fitness test would be left out of the 15-man squad for the Caribbean assignment.

“Fitness is of utmost importance and any player failing to prove that he is completely ready for the World Cup would be out of the World Cup,” said Altaf.

Pakistan are grappling with injuries to key fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul. Shoaib is nursing a knee injury, Gul is recovering from a stress fracture while Asif suffered from a recurrence of a tennis elbow due to work overload during the tour of South Africa.

The pace trio will also undergo the fitness test that would be supervised by specialists on the PCB medical commission.

Altaf said that the World Cup would be a very demanding event and Pakistan cannot afford to send any unfit or half-fit players to the West Indies.

He pointed out that Pakistan have selected five reserve men and would include some of them in the touring party instead of any injury-hit players.

Fast bowlers Mohammad Sami, Shahid Nazir, all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, opening batsman Salman Butt and wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider are the reserve players.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has assured Pakistan that they can replace any injured player till March 2 but any replacement after that deadline would only be allowed with the approval of the World Cup technical committee.

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for the Caribbean on March 1 and would be playing a couple of warm-up games in Trinidad ahead of their World Cup opener against the West Indies on March 13 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Pakistan would play a warm-up game against Canada on March 6 followed by another practice match against South Africa on March 9.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s brief training camp in preparation for the World Cup got underway at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.

Coach Bob Woolmer supervised the training sessions on the opening day. All the players in the World Cup squad as well as reserves reported to the camp commandant.

Source:The News

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