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World Cup 2019: ACB dismisses Mohammad Shahzad’s allegation of unfair exclusion

Shahzad's heart isn't with cricket anymore.

Asadullah Khan and Mohammad Shahzad
ACB CEO Asadullah Khan and Mohammad Shahzad. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Mohammad Shahzad has entered into a tussle with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) after he was left out of the national squad for the 2019 World Cup. He was suffering from a knee injury and hence was sidelined. However, the 32-year-old Shahzad reckons that he was completely fit and a few members of the board have conspired against him and pulled him out of the mega event.

He played only a couple of matches in the tournament versus Australia and Sri Lanka in which he could only manage seven runs. After returning to Kabul, the wicketkeeper-batsman mentioned that he got to know about his omission after he completed a training session prior to the Afghans’ third encounter versus Kane Williamson’s New Zealand on Saturday, June 8 in Taunton.

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Shahzad is currently an emotional wreck and he went down the memory lane to 2015 when he wasn’t selected in the World Cup squad. The situation has worsened to such an extent that ‘his heart isn’t with cricket anymore’ and he doesn’t even expect to play the game anymore.

“I asked the manager, who asked me to put the phone in my pocket and talk to the doctor. The doctor looked at me helplessly and said he couldn’t do anything. I don’t know what is the problem. If they have a problem, they should let me know,” Shahzad was quoted as saying.

“If they don’t want me to play, I will quit cricket. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup [he wasn’t selected for fitness reasons] and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn’t in cricket anymore,” a heartbroken Shahzad mentioned.

We have given a medical report to the ICC, ACB chief

In the meantime, ACB chief executive, Asadullah Khan said that there was no foul play in the exclusion of the Nangarhar-born cricketer. As per Shahzad’s medical report submitted to ESPNcricinfo, he has a mild ACL strain on his left knee. Asadullah also remarked that Shahzad is one of their main batsmen and it was a tough decision to drop him.

“It’s absolutely wrong to say that he was unfairly dropped. We have given a medical report to the ICC to prove that he is unfit, and after thorough deliberation they allowed us to replace him. He is our main batsman, who can make a big difference with the bat, and it was a really difficult decision to drop one of our key players,” Asadullah was quoted as saying.

Moreover, Asadullah was clear cut in saying that the team carrying ‘unfit players’ isn’t acceptable anymore. “Now that we are full members, our priority will be on fitness, in international and domestic cricket. We can’t carry unfit players. We understand Shahzad was not fully fit when he still went on to play two games and this is not acceptable anymore,” he added.

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