Shoaib to play local games before International comeback
Pakistan are planning to field their injured speedster Shoaib Akhtar in a few local games this month in a bid to get him match fit for this summer’s away Test series against England.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that Shoaib could be asked to play a few practice sessions as early as next week if a latest scan report on his injured ankle shows substantial progress.
“We are considering the idea of having Shoaib play some matches locally but that would depend on what sort of advice comes from the doctors treating him,” Abbas Zaidi, PCB’s Director of Board Operations said.
Shoaib would know today (Thursday) whether he would be able to take any part in this summer’s Test series against England as he is scheduled to get fresh scan results on his ankle stress fracture.
Zaidi said a specialist examined Shoaib in Lahore on Wednesday and carried out new scans to see the progress made by the pacer in his bid to get match fit for the Test series getting underway with the opening match from July 13 at Lord’s.
“A specialist who is on the PCB panel scanned Shoaib’s injured ankle today,” said Zaidi. “We are expecting to get a report on it tomorrow,” he added.
Zaidi added the Board’s medical specialist would advise Shoaib as to how much stress he can afford to take after studying the scan results. “We are expecting the results to show some improvement in Shoaib’s injury,” said Zaidi. “Any betterment in the injury would certainly boost his chances of playing some role in the Test series against England.”
Zaidi added the Board would decide its course of action on Shoaib’s case after getting the input from the concerned specialist. “We would know tomorrow whether Shoaib could start bowling again. However, even if he does get a clearance from his doctors we won’t be able to send him to England directly. He would be gradually inducted in the team after having played some local games sometimes later this month.”
Zaidi is optimistic about Shoaib’s chances of making the Pakistani line-up for the second Test scheduled to be played from July 27 in Manchester. “Shoaib is unlikely to make a comeback in the first Test but we are all expecting him to be playing in Manchester,” he said.
Zaidi also believes injured medium pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan would also be back in the side for the second Test though he is expected to miss the Lord’s match due to a groin injury.
Rana is scheduled to undergo a fitness test in Canterbury, England, today after which Pakistan would take a decision on his inclusion in the national team.
“The input we have been getting from England over Rana’s case is very positive and it seems set that he would be playing in the second Test,” said Zaidi.
Rana suffered from a groin injury while playing a county game for Sussex earlier this summer. He is currently under treatment in England for the injury.
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