CHENNAI : Even as disgruntled Mohammad Shahzad cried foul over his ouster from the Afghanistan squad for the ongoing World Cup, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has challenged the cricketer to clear the fitness test to prove his case. The wicketkeeper-batsman was ruled out of the mega event after faring poorly in the first two games against Australia and Sri Lanka. The ACB claimed Shahzad was withdrawn from the tournament due to knee injury he picked during a warm-up game against Pakistan. The 31-year-old, however, accused the board of conspiring against him and dropping him despite being in fine shape.
“Why is he creating all this fuss? If he is fit, he should give the fitness test. If he clears the test, the board will send him to the United Kingdom the next day,” Asadullah Khan, ACB chief executive officer (CEO), told this newspaper. “We’ve a medical report on his fitness. People in Afghanistan are not aware of fitness and other such issues. He is taking advantage of this ignorance by creating an issue out of it.”
Shahzad, the leading scorer for Afghanistan in the ODIs with 2727 runs from 84 matches so far, scored a nought and seven in two matches before being dropped. Ikram Ali Khil was roped in as his replacement but the 18-year-old did not impress against New Zealand, scoring just two.
“The ACB has asked him (Shahzad) to undergo fitness test but he declined saying he cannot do it. The ACB like any other cricket board has a set procedure to check fitness and if Shahzad wants to play, he should undergo the test,” affirmed Asadullah. The ACB had earlier said that a proper fitness report about Shahzad had been submitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC).