Shoaib refuses to play in Patron~~s Trophy

Published: Monday, February 14, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has refused to follow Pakistan Cricket Board's directive to play in a first-class Patron's Trophy Championship match starting on Sunday to prove his fitness for the Indian tour.

Sources close to Shoaib said the bowler is "surprised" at the instructions to play in the match as he had been advised rest till February 18 and also because none of the physical trainers would be at hand to assess his fitness.

Shoaib, recovering from a hamstring injury, has also sought a meeting with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to put forward his point of view as he had no intention of resuming playing so soon.

South African trainer Grant Compton, who has been supervising Shoaib's rehabilitation programme, had told him to rest till February 18 before a fresh assessment of his injury is carried out, the sources were quoted as saying in local daily The News.

"Grant Compton is due to return home on February 18 but Shoaib is surprised at the instructions given to him to play in a first-class match from the 14th," they said.

"Shoaib is also surprised at these instructions since even the foreign trainer and physiotherapist would return only on 18 from South Africa, so he [Shoaib] is wondering who is going to assess his fitness even if he plays in the match."

The sources said Shoaib is also armed with a medical report on his injury, which he wanted to show to the PCB chairman before finding out the logic behind the directive to play in a first-class match when he had been asked to rest by Compton.

A lot of hue and cry was raised on Friday when Shoaib did not appear before PCB-appointed trainer Dr Meesaq Rizvi while the other injured pace bowlers, Mohammad Sami and Shabbir Ahmed, did.

"Shoaib has made it clear to the Board he does not believe Dr Rizvi has the qualification or credentials to give any assessment on his hamstring injury," they said.

The latest insistence by the Board that he play in the Patron's Trophy to prove his fitness was an attempt to keep the fast bowler under pressure, a PCB official said.

"We also realise Shoaib is a valuable bowler when he is 100 per cent committed. But his antics in recent times are not acceptable. The Board wants to not only ensure he is completely fit for the Indian tour but also keep him under pressure so that he does not take his selection for India for granted," a Board official stated.

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