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Akhtar appears before PCB Medical Commission

ISLAMABAD, APRIL 28. Three Pakistani cricketers, including `Rawalpindi Expresss' Shoaib Akhtar today appeared before the Pakistan Cricket Board's Medical Inquiry Commission in Lahore.

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq and wicketkeeper Moin Khan also deposed before the Commission today, probing into the spate of injuries to Pakistan players in the recent series defeat against India.

PCB spokesman Sami-ul Hassan told PTI here that Akhtar, along with Razzaq and Moin, appeared before the four-member Medical Commission and underwent the required medical tests that would determine the nature of injuries that prevented them from playing against India.

Mr. Hassan said the committee of medical specialists examined the three and fixed a rehabilitation regime. ``It is a long procedure which could take hours.''

Besides the three players who deposed today, the PCB had also directed fast bowlers Umar Gul and Shabbir Ahmed to undergo the tests and prove the authenticity of their injuries. While Gul appeared before the panel on Sunday, Shabbir forwarded his medical reports to the Commission before leaving to play County cricket in England.

The Commission was established following criticism from top PCB officials that they believed players, especially Shoaib, faked injury after a fall on the second day of the third Test at Rawalpindi.

Shoaib, who took three for 47 in 21 overs, then declined to bowl on the crucial third day but came out to bat on the fourth day in the second innings before Pakistan suffered an innings defeat and lost the series 2-1. This made the team management publicly express its surprise over Shoaib's injury.

Meanwhile, Shoaib, who returned from Mumbai on Monday after taking part in a commercial shoot along with Sachin Tendulkar, has strongly denied that he had faked his injury because of reported differences with captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

``My wrist was also injured but the bigger problem was a torn ligament in the lower back,'' he was quoted as saying by local daily The News. He denied that he deliberately didn't bowl on the third day. ``People are just trying to pass on the blame. I'll give my side to the PCB Chairman and to their panel.''

After his arrival Shoiab met his trainer, Dr. Tauseef Razzaq, who quit his job as physio of the team after the second Test at Lahore following differences with Inzamam.

He went for another check-up with Dr. Razzaq as he prepared to appear before the PCB's panel that includes orthopaedic surgeons.

The PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan, had recently said that an MRI scan revealed there was no serious injury to Shoaib which forced PCB to evaluate the bowler's injury through a Medical Commission.

If found guilty, Shoaib could face a ban and fine. Some local newspapers also speculated that the PCB had already decided to suspend him for several months.

Imran hits out at PCB

The PCB has made a mockery of cricket by conducting a medical inquiry against fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistan captain Imran Khan said in Karachi.

``Nowhere in the world has a medical inquiry of fast bowlers ever been conducted. By doing so the PCB has made a mockery of Pakistan cricket,'' Imran was quoted as saying by The News.

``Australian pacers Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Glen McGrath were injured before and during the series against India earlier this year but did Australia conduct an inquiry?'' the paper further quoted Imran as saying. ``Even Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra broke down during the Pakistan series but India did not launch an inquiry,'' he added.

``The PCB is sidetracking from the main reasons why Pakistan lost the series. Some fast bowlers picking up injuries is not unusual,'' Imran said, adding, ``why Pakistan's bowlers had problems no one bothered to know and no one addressed the need to have a specialised bowling coach.

``To blame one player for a spineless performance is unjustified. Shoaib might be responsible for indiscipline, but that should be dealt with then and there,'' said Imran. ``He (Shoaib) won us three series in a row, but instead of asking questions and learning lessons from defeats, the PCB has sidetracked,'' he added. — PTI & ANI

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