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Fit-again Shadab to rejoin team in England


May 15, 2019

KARACHI: With just a couple of weeks to go before the ICC World Cup begins in England, Pakistan received a much-needed boost on Tuesday when it was confirmed that young leggie Shadab Khan will be fit to play in the quadrennial spectacle.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that Shadab has been declared fit for the World Cup after his latest test results reflected zero viral load in his blood.

The youngster will now leave for London on Thursday (tomorrow) where he will consult Dr Patrick Kennedy on Friday before joining the team in Bristol on May 20. However, Shadab’s appearances in the World Cup warm-up matches, scheduled for 24 and 26 May against Afghanistan and Bangladesh respectively, are subject to his fitness and the team management’s decision.

Shadab is now looking forward to featuring in his first World Cup. “I am delighted to know that the blood tests are negative and I can now return to competitive cricket. I was always very confident that I would fully recover from the viral infection and will be available for the World Cup.

“Having played and won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, I understand the importance, flavour and glamour of global events and what success in such events mean to the players and the public. I am looking forward to featuring in the World Cup and will leave no stone unturned in helping Pakistan put up a strong show.

“It has been difficult to stay away from international cricket and watch Pakistan play outstandingly – both in Cardiff and Southampton. As a professional cricketer, you want to be part of such games. In both the matches, Pakistan have shown their capability and ability, and I am sure with some fine tuning, we will be ready to take on the world.”

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur also expressed his pleasure over Shadab’s availability. “It is fabulous news and on behalf of the Pakistan cricket team, I look forward to welcoming Shadab back in the squad. Shadab is one of the finest of his generation and is an influential figure in the team. His presence in the dressing room and on the field of play keeps the side geared up and motivated,” he said.

“Shadab’s inclusion also balances what is a young but extremely talented squad. I understand it will take Shadab some time to be back at his brilliant best as he has not played cricket for a few weeks, but our first game is on 31 May and he has got two weeks to regain complete form and fitness.

“He is a brave lad and the way he has fought back to regain fitness is a testament to his attitude and approach, which gives us the encouragement that he will be hopefully available for selection for our World Cup opener.”

Shadab was named in the original 15-player ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 squad on 18 April. However, he was withdrawn from the series against England after blood tests revealed a virus that required treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks. On April 26, the PCB had set-up Shadab’s appointment with Dr Kennedy, a world-renowned gastroenterologist and hepatologist with specialisation in liver diseases in elite sportsmen, who had put him on medication and advised two weeks of complete rest.

The development is a massive boost for Pakistan, who had selected Yasir Shah for this series instead. However, Yasir’s ODI form is a far cry from the quality that has marked him out as an elite Test match bowler, with an ODI average of nearly 50, and he was omitted from the Bristol match against England after a poor game at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday.