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LAHORE: Pakistan suffered a major blow on Sunday when young all-rounder Shadab Khan was ruled out of next month’s bilateral limited-overs series against England with a virus and replaced by fellow leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

Chairman of the national selection committee Inzamam-ul-Haq, in a brief statement, said: “The blood test of Shadab revealed a virus that requires [extensive] treatment and complete rest for four weeks at least. At this point in time, Shadab won’t be playing in the series [comprising of one-off T20 and five ODIs] against England but we are expecting him to make full recovery before the World Cup starts [on May 30].”

Inzamam said the selectors have decided to replace Shadab with Yasir, the experienced Test leg-spinner who has bagged 23 wickets at 47.39 in an in-and-out 24--match OODI career.

Despite Inzamam being optimistic about Shadab recovering in time, the prospects of the all-rounder missing the World Cup cannot be ruled out either given the available time left for him.

”Unfortunately, it is not good news that Shadab has been advised by the doctors to rest for at least four weeks. It means he will not be available for Pakistan’s one T20 International and the five One-day Internationals against England.

“The flexibility in the World Cup rules is a blessing in disguise because we have until May 23 to decide on the final 15-man squad. According to the doctors, he [Shadab] will be in a better condition to play because is he is a key player for Pakistan, “Inzamam remar­ked. “But if Shadab is ruled out five weeks from now then we can induct another player in the squad.”

Meanwhile, the PCB while announcing the recovery process of Shadab said in a media release: “The Pakistan Cricket Board will now set-up Shadab’s appointment with the specialists in England to help him make complete recovery before Pakistan’s opening World Cup game against the West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31.

“While we remain optimistic that Shadab will recover in time for the World Cup, the PCB’s priority and focus at this stage is to provide him the best available medical facilities no matter in which part of the world. Shadab is our asset and we have to look after him as best as we can.”

Yasir was included in the list of 23 probables from which the selectors have already announced a 17-member squad for the series against England by adding Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali alongside the 15 who are in the World Cup squad.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019