ICL: Indian Cricket League

Unfit Shabbir still not ready for Test comeback


Pakistan have dropped plans to rush Shabbir Ahmed to South Africa for the third Test starting in Cape Town later this week after the medium pacer failed to prove his match fitness.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told this correspondent on Tuesday that Shabbir was fielded in a one-day match to check his fitness but the player broke down with a knee injury after bowling ten overs.

Shabbir, 30, was supposed to fly for South Africa on Tuesday after Pakistan suffered a double blow when fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul were ruled out of the third Test against South Africa because of fitness problems.

The team management had requested for Shabbir, who has been cleared to play international cricket after serving a 12-month ban because of an illegal bowling action.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had even told the media in Port Elizabeth on Monday that Shabbir is on the way to join the team ahead of the final Test.

However, the official said that Inzamam will have to rely on the pool of players available to him in South Africa for the decisive Test scheduled to get underway from January 26 because Pakistan will only be sending replacement players ahead of the one-day series getting underway from February 2 with a Twenty20 games in Johannesburg.

“Shabbir is simply not fit to play Test cricket and there is no point in sending him to South Africa,” said the official.

He said that the player’s fitness was examined by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) Director Mudassar Nazar and NCA physiotherapist Grant Compton in a match in Lahore but failed to prove his fitness.

He said that Shabbir had been suffering from a knee problem but the PCB thought he may have recovered from the injury which is why he was asked to go through a test.

Shabbir, a successful strike bowler who has taken 51 wickets from just ten Tests, was seen by the national team management as the perfect bowler to replace fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in the third Test.

Shoaib injured his hamstring during the second Test in Port Elizabeth and is now scheduled to return home for rehabilitation.

The official said that in spite of his injury, Shabbir remains in contention for a place in the Pakistan team for next month’s one-day series against South Africa.
Source:The News

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