ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib to return home; could face the music over spat with Woolmer


Pakistan’s enigmatic pace star Shoaib Akhtar is expected to return home this week after suffering from a hamstring injury in the second Test against South Africa under progress in Port Elizabeth, writes Khalid Hussain.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told ‘The News’ on Sunday Shoaib is out of the three-match series following a medical report that suggests that the fast bowler needs at least a two-week rest to recover from his latest injury.

“According to an interim medical report Shoaib has torn his hamstring and would require at least 14 days to recover. He would not be taking any more part in the current series and may be sent back home by the team management,” said Salim Altaf, PCB’s Director of Operations.

Apart from a decision over Shoaib, the team manager Talat Ali would also conduct an inquiry into an incident that was telecasted on sports channels around the world showing Shoaib exchanging hot words with his coach Bob Woolmer in the Pakistan team dressing room before the start of play on Saturday.

“I have talked with Talat on this particular incident,” said Altaf. “The manager has assured the Board that he would conduct an inquiry and then take action if required. The Board has told the manager that it would support any decision he takes over the issue,” he added.

Just a day before his spat with Woolmer, Shoaib took four key wickets to help Pakistan skittle out South Africa for a paltry 124 on the opening day of the second Test.

His inability to bowl on the second day sparked speculations that Shoaib could have faked an injury because of his war of words with Woolmer.

However, Altaf refrained from making any further comments on the incident saying that the Board would be in a better position to deal with it after the manager’s inquiry.

Altaf, a former Test cricketer, said that the team management would sit down and decide whether to release Shoaib and two more injured squad members during a meeting on Sunday night.

“Talat has told us that the management is going to have a meeting tonight in which it would decide about the fate of the squad’s injured players,” he said.

Apart from Shoaib, medium pacer Umar Gul and all-rounder Shoaib Malik are also on injury list. Gul suffered from an ankle problem while Malik also got injured before the opening Test held at Centurion earlier this month.

Altaf said that the reports on injuries of Gul and Malik are not any positive either.

“Unfortunately, Gul and Malik have not responded to the treatment they have been receiving for the last several days and remain doubtful for the third Test,” he said.

While Malik is currently not counted among the Pakistan Test squad’s integral members, Gul is a key player in the team after a good 2006 during which he was the country’s most successful fast bowler.

Source:The News

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