Shadab Khan has been declared fit for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after his latest test results reflected zero viral load in his blood, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced today.
The leg-spinner will now leave for London on Thursday, 16 May, where he will consult Dr Patrick Kennedy on Friday, 17 May, before joining the team in Bristol on Monday, 20 May.
However, Shadab’s appearances in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up matches, scheduled for 24 and 26 May against Afghanistan and Bangladesh respectively, are subject to his fitness and the team management’s decision.
Shadab Khan said: “I am delighted to know that the blood tests are negative and I can now return to competitive cricket. I was always very confident that I would fully recover from the viral infection and will be available for the World Cup.
“Having played and won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, I understand the importance, flavour and glamour of global events and what success in such events mean to the players and the public. I am looking forward to featuring in the World Cup and will leave no stone unturned in helping Pakistan put up a strong show.
“It has been difficult to stay away from international cricket and watch Pakistan play outstandingly – both in Cardiff and Southampton. As a professional cricketer, you want to be part of such games. In both the matches, Pakistan have shown their capability and ability, and I am sure with some fine tuning, we will be ready to take on the world.”
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said: “It is fabulous news and on behalf of the Pakistan cricket team, I look forward to welcoming Shadab back in the squad. Shadab is one of the finest of his generation and is an influential figure in the team. His presence in the dressing room and on the field of play keeps the side geared up and motivated.
“Shadab’s inclusion also balances what is a young but extremely talented squad. I understand it will take Shadab some time to be back at his brilliant best as he has not played cricket for a few weeks, but our first game is on 31 May and he has got two weeks to regain complete form and fitness.
“He is a brave lad and the way he has fought back to regain fitness is a testament to his attitude and approach, which gives us the encouragement that he will be hopefully available for selection for our World Cup opener.”
PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan said: “The PCB also had a duty of care towards Shadab and that’s precisely why we went for the best specialist in England. So, from that perspective, we are all very happy that he has received a clean chit and can resume normal cricket activities.
“Shadab is also one of the players who is respected immensely by all the participating sides as he is a quality bowler, fielder and batsman. I am sure his availability will give tremendous confidence and boost to the morale and spirit of the Pakistan cricket team ahead of the pinnacle 50-over competition.”
Shadab was named in the original 15-player ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 squad on 18 April. However, he was withdrawn from the series against England after blood tests revealed a virus that required treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks. On 26 April, the PCB had set-up Shadab’s appointment with Dr Kennedy, a world-renowned gastroenterologist and hepatologist with specialisation in liver diseases in elite sportsmen, who had put him on medication and advised two weeks of complete rest.