Shoaib Akhtar’s suspect fitness was highlighted again on Sunday when the comeback speedster opted out of the final one-dayer against England at Edgbaston because of a knee injury.
A Pakistan team official told this correspondent that Shoaib was dropped from the playing line-up just before the toss after he complained of a painful knee in the morning. “Shoaib seems to have a knee problem but we think it is nothing serious,” he said. “A few days of rest and treatment should help him regain full fitness,” he added.
Shoaib got some initial treatment from Pakistan team’s physiotherapist Daryn Lifson and might undergo a few scans if the knee pain persists. The 31-year-old pace star spent almost seven months in international hibernation because of knee and ankle problems before making his Pakistan return with the one-day series against England.
Shoaib took nine wickets in the four one-dayers he featured in including a match-winning haul of 4-28 in the third ODI at Lord’s last week. Pakistan won that match emphatically by eight wickets.
He returned to the Pakistani ranks with figures of 1-31 in a Twenty20 game on August 28 at Bristol and bowled with a lot of fire at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff (3-45) in the opening one-dayer in which Pakistan were deprived of a seemingly comfortable win by inclement weather. His best showing of the series came at Lord’s in which he bullied the England batsmen with raw speed to hand Pakistan a thumping victory.
But since then it had been downhill for the Rawalpindi Express. He took two wickets at the Rose Bowl but gave away 59 runs in a thrilling Pakistani triumph. That he was losing steam was clearly evident from Shoaib’s outing in the fourth one-dayer at Trent Bridge where he bowled at a friendly pace for figures of 0-36 in eight overs and Pakistan were clearly outclassed by England.
Even when in the prime of his youth, Shoaib seldom played several matches at a stretch. Now that he came back to the world stage after a seven-month gap because of fitness problems, it was only a matter of time for him to skip a game either due to injury or exhaustion.
Shoaib’s pull-out from the Edgbaston outing also put a bit of a question mark on his prospects for next month’s ICC Trophy in India.
The decision to drop Shoaib and bring in Rao Iftikhar Anjum also came as a bit of a surprise for the journalists covering the match. The journos working for wire agencies, television or radio sent the wrong feeds back to their offices as till a few minutes before the match, all they knew about the Pakistan line-up was that the tourists had just made one change: Rao coming in for Shoaib Malik.
It was only when the match was about to begin that the news came that Shoaib Akhtar is not playing while left-handed opener Imran Farhat would make his first and only outing in the one-day series.
Source:The NewsMore on:Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006, Shoaib Akhtar
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, September 11th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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