World Cup 2019: Shahzad says he is fit, slams Afghan board for sending him home

Mohammad Shahzad after being ruled out of World Cup 2019 due to a knee injury has alleged that the Afghanistan Cricket Board pulled him out despite he being fit.

Mohammad Shahzad had poor outings in Afghanistan's two matches in World Cup.   -  AP Photo

Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad after being ruled out of World Cup 2019 due to a knee injury has alleged that the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) pulled him out despite he being fit.

“I was training at the nets when the team manager told me that I was unfit and I had to head back home. It seemed they had already asked for a replacement (Ikram Ali Khil), but I did not know that I was unfit,” Shahzad told Sportstar after returning to Kabul on Sunday.

Shahzad picked up a knee injury in the warm-up clash against Pakistan. However, he played Afghanistan’s first two games in the losing cause against Australia and Sri Lanka. The ICC, in a statement, said that Shahzad’s injury aggravated, forcing him to leave the tournament.

World Cup 2019: Full coverage

Shahzad’s MRI report — a copy of which is with Sportstar — says, “The alignment of the knee joint appear satisfactory while there is a patchy altered abnormal marrow beneath the cortical margin.”

“If I was unfit then how could I play the first two matches? The physio told me that I will be alright if I take a bit of rest, and suddenly I was ruled out of the tournament. I have done so much for Afghanistan cricket and this is what happened to me,” Shahzad said.

A physio, associated with one of the international teams, however, told this publication that the MRI report doesn’t indicate anything ‘significant’.

“It shows a bit of bone bruising. It doesn’t look grave, but then you can’t solely depend on an MRI report. There are three factors involved in it -- image finding, clinical finding and subjective finding.”

The report dated on May 26 -- a day after Afghanistan’s practice game against Pakistan, where Shahzad suffered the injury. Shahzad went on to play two more matches. “If the injury was serious, why did the player feature in the next two games?” the physio questioned.

Did Shahzad speak to any of the board officials after being sent back?

“They told me that I am unfit and I am not being able to play my shots as there’s no footwork. But this is how my batting style is. I don’t move much and despite that I have scored runs,” he said.

Read: Skipper Naib rues Shahzad World Cup injury blow

Shahzad claimed that he even spoke to the team coach, Phil Simmons. “He is upset but he has no role to play here. He told me in the pavilion that he has no say in the decision. The captain and the manager took the call without even consulting the coach,” Shahzad added.

The ACB officials, however, refuted Shahzad’s allegations. “We had submitted the medical reports to the ICC and only after that, the ICC has allowed us to name a replacement. Shahzad is totally injured,” ACB CEO, Asadullah Khan, informed.

One of the seasoned campaigners, Shahzad -- who opens the innings for Afghanistan — scored a duck against Australia and then managed just seven runs against Sri Lanka in the ongoing World Cup.

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