Shoaib Akhtar doubtful for World Cup
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 12th February 2007
Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar Sunday said he fears he could miss
the World Cup after suffering a knee injury that may take three to four
weeks to heal.
Doctors have advised Akhtar to have scans to reveal the extent of the
injury to the left knee, which was operated on, along with the right
knee, in February last year.
"I am devastated at the thought of missing the World Cup," said Akhtar,
just a month away from the start of the World Cup in the West Indies,
which kicks off with Pakistan playing the hosts on March 13.
"I was excited at the prospect of playing the World Cup. I want to help
my team win the World Cup and I hope this injury is not worse and I am
able to play some part in Pakistan's cup campaign."
His selection in the squad was also subject to his clearing a doping
test to be carried out on February 16. Akhtar tested positive for
banned steroids in October last year.
If scans reveal serious injury then Akhtar will have to fly to
Australia for an operation and it could rule him out of the World Cup.
The latest injury scare to Akhtar compounds Pakistan's problems as they
are already grappling with injury worries to key pacemen Umar Gul
(ankle), Shabbir Ahmed (hamstring) and Mohammad Sami (back).
To add to their problems, the International Cricket Council (ICC)
turned down Pakistan's request for an extension to the February 13
deadline for naming their World Cup squad.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director of operations Salim Altaf said on
Saturday they had made a second request to the ICC as it would be
difficult to name the squad without finding out the extent of the
injuries. If the second request is also rejected, Pakistan would name
their squad either on Monday or Tuesday, Altaf said.
The 31-year-old Akhtar has been beset by injury. He was forced to
return home from Pakistan's tour of South Africa after tearing his
hamstring following his 4-36 on the first day of the second Test at
Port Elizabeth last month.
Akhtar, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, missed the best part of last
year due to injuries. He missed Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka and the
Test series in England.
Akhtar only returned for the one-day series against England, starting
in August last year, but two months later he and fellow paceman
Mohammad Asif were called back from India after both tested positive
for the banned steroid nandrolone.
Akhtar was banned for two years and Asif for one year on doping charges
in November but a month later their bans were controversially
overturned on appeal.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has filed an appeal against the
overturning of the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in
Switzerland, which is not expected to hear the case until April this