Wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad has sparked a fresh controversy by claiming that he was incorrectly ruled out of the 2019 ICC World Cup due to a knee injury.
The 32-year-old was ruled out for the remainder of the ongoing tournament after playing just two games for Afghanistan before being replaced by young Ikram Ali Khil. However, the opening batsman has now accused the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) of unfairly sending him back home from the World Cup.
“I went to a doctor in London and he drained my knee of some fluids, gave me a pill and said that I could play after resting for two-three days,” Shahzad told the local Afghanistan media on his return to Kabul.
“I had a practice session, bowled, batted, and had a keeping session, had lunch with my team-mates, and then sat down in the team bus (to return to the hotel) only to see the ICC press release on my phone saying I am out of the World Cup.
“That was the moment when I found out that I was unfit. I don’t know what is the problem. If they have a problem, they should let me know. If they don’t want me to play, I will quit cricket.”
The wicketkeeper batsman had retired hurt due to a knee injury in the warm up game against Pakistan but had featured in Afghanistan’s opening two matches in the World Cup before being ruled out of the tournament.
Shahzad has now threatened to quit international cricket altogether in the wake of his World Cup exit.
“I don’t see myself playing anymore. It’s a dream to play the World Cup. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn’t in cricket anymore,” he said.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have responded to Shahzad’s sensational tirade and have insisted that the wicketkeeper was ruled out for fitness reasons.
“It’s absolutely wrong to say that he was unfairly dropped,” ACB chief executive Asadullah Khan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“We have given a medical report to the ICC to prove that he is unfit, and after thorough deliberation they allowed us to replace him. He is our main batsman, who can make a big difference with the bat, and it was a really difficult decision to drop one of our key players.”
“Now that we are full members, our priority will be on fitness, in international and domestic cricket. We can’t carry unfit players. We understand Shahzad was not fully fit when he still went on to play two games and this is not acceptable anymore.”
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