LAHORE: After failing to rightly examine the nature of the knee injury suffered by national team pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi and finding the rehab programme not progressing according to the plan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent the player to London for treatment.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board today announced Shaheen Shah Afridi has departed for London where he will complete his rehabilitation,” a PCB media release said on Monday.

Commenting on the development, PCB’s chief medical officer Dr Najeebullah Soomro said: “Shaheen requires uninterrupted, dedicated knee specialist care and London offers some of the best sports medical and rehabilitation facilities in the world. In the best interest of the player, we have decided to send him there.

“The medical department will receive daily feedback on his progress whilst in London and we are confident Shaheen will regain full fitness before [this year’s] ICC T20 World Cup.”

Whilst in London, the 22-year-old Shaheen will remain under the supervision of the PCB Medical Advisory Panel, which also comprises London-based Dr Imtiaz Ahmad and Dr Zafar Iqbal.

Since 2016, Dr Imtiaz has been the Head of Medical Services at the Queens Park Rangers Football Club, while Dr Zafar is Head of Sports Medicine at the Crystal Palace Football Club since 2015, having worked previously with Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Kent County Cricket Club.

Shaheen suffered a PCL injury in July while fielding during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. But the PCB medical panel decided to keep the left-armer with the national team, which at the end of the Sri Lanka tour, went to the Nether­lands to play three ODIs and directly came to the UAE to participate in the Asia Cup. The Asia Cup, which ends on Sept 11, will be followed by a seven-match T20 home series against England.

And now the sudden PCB decision to send Shaheen to London somehow indicates that his rehab process was not going on satisfactorily. The PCB medical panel had advised Shaheen 4-6 weeks rest in July, hoping he would return to the Pakistan team for the T20 World Cup being held in Aus­tralia during October-November.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2022

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