Legspinner Shadab Khan was left tense and frustrated after learning that he was suffering from hepatitis, two days after being picked for the Pakistan squads for the tour of England and the World Cup.
A blood test had revealed Shadab was suffering from hepatitis, and was subsequently replaced by Yasir Shah in the squad for the England series, while the PCB arranged an appointment with a London-based gastroenterology and hepatology specialist. While Shadab recovered from the viral infection over the last month, his health was still a concern, with his chances of playing the World Cup at risk. But now he has been declared fit and is set to join the squad after the England series.
“When you suddenly get to know that you have a viral [infection] in your blood, naturally I got frustrated but my team-mates and friends have been very supportive,” Shadab said. “I have a strong belief that whatever happens, happens for a reason and for good. I was tensed up on the first day but then I told my friends that whatever happened was in the past. If anything good is to happen, it will happen. So I asked them to avoid talking to me about it.”
Shadab was given a two-week course of medication and was prescribed complete rest. He was declared fit after undergoing another round of blood tests in Lahore earlier this week and is set to leave for England soon.
“I was always hopeful because the viral infection was found at its initial stage,” Shadab said. “With two weeks of medication, it’s out of my blood. Now I am heading to the World Cup. We [Pakistan] have been going there [to England] regularly over the last three years so it isn’t really difficult to acclimatise. All I have to do is to get in my rhythm otherwise I am mentally prepared for the challenge.”
Shadab has been Pakistan’s key strike bowler in the middle overs for the last two years, and his return is a boost for the side. His replacement, Yasir, hasn’t made an impact as Pakistan have struggled with their bowling in the ongoing ODI series against England. Yasir’s ODI form has been a far cry from the quality that has marked him out as an elite Test bowler, and he was left out of the third ODI against England on Tuesday after conceding 60 runs in seven overs during the second ODI in Southampton last week.
Pakistan have taken only seven England wickets in the last two ODIs, after the first match was washed out. The hosts scored 373 in the second ODI and on Tuesday, chased down 359 with 31 balls and six wickets to spare. Shadab who has a knack of picking wickets in the middle overs, believes the Pakistan bowlers are not in rhythm.
“Nowadays you have to take wickets because cricket has become very fast and even 350 isn’t a par score,” Shadab said, reflecting on Pakistan’s performance in England so far. “Yes we have been struggling with the ball in the middle overs, but the way the batting is performing is a good sign. No doubt we lost the games but we put up a good fight and played competitive cricket, which gives a lot of boost to the team. Pakistan, anyway, still have the ability to win the remaining games.
“I have already played in a competitive tournament, in the 2017 Champions Trophy, which we won. Victory indeed has its own taste. Even though we lost a few games, I know how to adapt in a big tournament. Our team has 100% skills to do well in the World Cup. Yes, they are struggling but so are the other teams in many ways. They are playing good cricket overall. Yes, the bowlers are not doing well, they are actually not in the rhythm required but once they start clicking, we will start winning the games. Overall, when you are missing four key players [Shadab, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik] it becomes increasingly tough. But there is a difference between pressure for a series and the World Cup, so I am optimistic about our chances there and we will try to win the World Cup.”
Kohli pleased with India’s lower-order fightback
India’s fightback after being reduced to 39 for 4 was the positive Virat Kohli chose to look back after their emphatic loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up fixture at The Oval. In the absence of Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, India found a savior in Ravindra Jadeja, who top scored with a 50-ball 54 to haul India to 179.
Jadeja added 62 with Kuldeep Yadav for the eight wicket, allowing India to reach the 40-over mark, a prospect that looked unlikely when Trent Boult ran through the top order. Hardik Pandya’s brisk 30 led a brief revival, only for the innings to stutter again until Jadeja guided the lower order.
“Very good,” Kohli said of the lower-order contributions at the post-match presentation. “I mean, the one thing we spoke about in a tournament like the World Cup is, you could easily have your top order out for not too many, so the lower order has to look forward to that and I think Hardik [Pandya] batted really well. MS [Dhoni] absorbs the pressure really well and [Ravindra] Jadeja got a few runs as well, so I think from that point of view, we got a lot out of this game, which is what we wanted to. The lower order getting some runs that was the biggest positive.”
Kohli assessed the surface wasn’t as bowler-friendly in the second innings, after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on a century stand to deflate India. New Zealand sealed victory with six wickets in hand and nearly 13 overs to spare.
“It’s going to be very different from batting second and we saw that in this [game] in the later half of our innings as well,” he said. “I think we bowled it in the right areas, they were going at about four, four-and-a-half, which I think we would take any day in a tournament where the pitches are going to be good. If we can keep hitting those areas consistently, which I think we did with the new ball and the spinners as well, we’re going to be fine with that bowling attack.”
Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Somerset, Royal London One-Day Cup, Final
Innings break Hampshire 243 for 8 (Northeast 56, Fuller 55*, J Overton 3-48) v Somerset
Royal London Cup holders Hampshire face a task on their hands with the ball if they are to retain the trophy after scrapping their way to 243 for 8. Shorn of three of the mainstays of their campaign by World Cup call-ups, a pair of half-centuries from Sam Northeast and James Fuller was as good as it got after Hampshire had chosen to bat, as Jamie Overton, Josh Davey and Somerset captain Tom Abell shared seven wickets between them.
Hampshire’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves from the outset – perhaps unsurprising when two players of the calibre of James Vince and Aiden Markram, now with England and South Africa respectively, had been removed from the top three – and but for Fuller’s late salvo during a 64-run stand with No. 10 Mason Crane, they might have left Somerset a target below 200.
At around the time Hampshire lost their fourth wicket, Liam Dawson was coming on for his first bowl in England’s World Cup warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl. How Hampshire fans would have preferred to see him walking out to the middle at Lord’s, following a Royal London campaign in which he claimed 18 wickets and averaged 45 with the bat. Instead it was Gareth Berg, with a List A highest score of 75, who came out at No. 6 to join Northeast.
Boundaries were at a premium as Somerset’s bowlers bustled about their business – given the scoring rate, this could almost have been a final from 2001, when Somerset last won a 50-over trophy at Lord’s. Jamie Overton broke a 49-run stand when Berg picked out deep backward square and Hampshire’s hopes of an imposing target seemingly departed with Northeast as he hacked across line, patience exhausted, to be bowled by Abell for 56.
Abell had only delivered one over in the format previously but also hit Kyle Abbott’s stumps in a tidy spell, while Chris Wood fell tamely to Jamie Overton, before Fuller and Crane begged and stole what they could during the last ten overs. A pair of clean-struck blows beyond the ropes from Fuller in the final over – the only sixes of the innings – suggested the pitch had runs left in it at halfway.
Perhaps hoping to follow the template of their victory over Kent last year, Hampshire chose to bat beneath low-slung cloud on a humid morning at Lord’s. While not exactly a green nibbler in September, there was enough in the surface for Somerset’s battery of right-arm medium bowlers to take advantage of.
Anuerin Donald struck a couple of early boundaries before hitting Davey straight to cover and although Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley resolved to play their way in, it was ultimately to no avail. Alsop was dropped by James Hildreth at slip on 16, but obligingly recreated the chance off Davey’s very next ball and this time the Somerset veteran clung on.
Lewis Gregory strove for similar virtues of line and length when replacing Craig Overton and he found enough movement back in to defeat a loose push and remove Weatherley’s off stump in his second over, with Hampshire an anaemic-looking 50 for 3.
There followed a volley of retaliatory boundaries as Rilee Rossouw – Man of the Match for his 125 here a year ago – and Northeast dashed off 46 in 6.3 overs. Rossouw introduced himself to Gregory with a brusque force through the covers and then a swat over mid-on for four more but, having barrelled to 28 off 17 balls, he fell to the extra pace of Jamie Overton, cramped into edging a back-foot drive on to his stumps.
The onus now rested heavily on Northeast, Hampshire’s stand-in captain, and he packed away the shots to reach an 85-ball half-century. However, Abell was to steal his Lord’s limelight and help leave his team well-placed in pursuit of a first limited-overs title since 2005.
Mark Wood and Jofra Archer give England more injury scares during Australia warm-up | Cricket
England’s World Cup hopes may have sustained a serious blow after injury scares to both of their fastest bowlers.
Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two men in the England squad who can regularly surpass 90 mph with the ball, were obliged to leave the pitch within minutes of one another in the opening hour of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton.
First Wood, after one ball of his fourth over, stopped halfway through his run-up and left the pitch having indicated that he may have an issue with his calf. Just two balls later Archer, a surprising choice as substitute fielder for Wood, slid as he attempted to stop a ball on the midwicket boundary and appeared to sustain an injury. He left the pitch moments later.
It meant that Paul Collingwood, one of England’s assistant coaches, was briefly forced into service as a substitute fielder. Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, and retired as a player at the end of the 2018 season. Joe Root, who was due to miss the game following the death of his grandfather on Thursday, was also pressed into service as a substitute fielder.
England are also without the injured pair of Eoin Morgan, who sustained a fractured finger in training on Friday, and Adil Rashid, who has a long-standing shoulder injury. They also confirmed that Chris Woakes, who is expected to open the bowling in the World Cup, was playing in this match as a specialist batsman and would not bowl as they seek to manage his even more long-standing knee problems.
The England camp are yet to advise on the seriousness of the injuries.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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