As if starting with losses in their first three games at the ongoing ICC World Cup wasn’t enough, Afghanistan cricket is in further turmoil as their highest run-scorer in One-Day Internationals Mohammad Shahzad has threatened to quit the sport.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was sent back home from England a few days ago after being declared unfit due to a reported injury. As it turns out, Shahzad is not at all pleased with the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s decision.
The 32-year-old, who has been replaced by Ikram Alikhil, played Afghanistan’s first two matches against Australia and Sri Lanka but the recurrence of a knee injury saw him being omitted from the squad.
Shahzad, though, claims that he was incorrectly declared unfit. “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 is quoted as telling the media after reaching 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 asked the manager, who asked me to put the phone in my pocket and talk to the doctor. The doctor looked at me helplessly and said he couldn’t do anything.”
However, the Afghanistan board have insisted that Shahzad was indeed unfit and that they had no choice but to release him. “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.”
Shahzad has now threatened that he will bid adieu to the game since his heart isn’t in it anymore. “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,” he said.
“I don’t see myself playing anymore. It’s a dream to play the World Cup. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup [he wasn’t selected for fitness reasons] and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn’t in cricket anymore.”