Afghanistan wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad was not a happy camper during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. He alleged that the Afghanistan cricket board were conspiring to leave him out of the squad in spite of his fitness being on the position scale.
In the build up to the major event, Shahzad picked up a left knee injury, which got aggravated during the warm-up against Pakistan. However, Mohammad Shahzad persevered to play the first two games against Australia and Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately, Shahzad would not make an appearance for the team against New Zealand on Saturday. This was because, his “knee injury” ruled him out for the remainder of the World Cup.
Speak to PTI, the incensed Mohammad Shahzad said, “I still don’t know why I was ruled unfit when I was fit enough to play. Some people in the board (ACB) have conspired against me. Only manager, doctor and the captain knew that I was going to be replaced. Even the coach (Phil Simmons) found out much later. It was heart-breaking,”.
“I had finished my training (ahead of the New Zealand game) and only after I checked my phone, I found out that I have been ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury. None of the players in the team bus knew about it and just like me, they were in shock (at the news),”.
Things got worse for Mohammad Shahzad as he flopped against Australia and Sri Lanka. However, he was not alone, as majority of the batsmen stumbled. Afghanistan’s only saving grace was Najibullah Zadran and Rahmat Shah.
According to skipper Gulbadin Naib, it was “a big loss” to lose Mohammad Shahzad, but he was struggling with his knee for a while. This allegedly forced his hand and the team had to take a call. With Shahzad out of the picture, teenager Ikram Ali Khil was drafted in as a replacement.
Responding to Shahzad’s conspiracy claims, ACB CEO Asadullah Khan said to PTI, “What he is saying is completely wrong. A proper medical report to the ICC was submitted and then only his replacement was announced. The team could not have fielded an unfit player. I understand he is upset at not being part of World Cup anymore but the team could not have compromised on his fitness,”.