Kabul/London, Jun 11 : Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who faced rejection twice in the World Cup on health merits, has expressed disappointment, saying that in such circumstances, he feels, his heart does not belong to cricket, anymore. Disenchantment writ large on the face of the 32-year-old, who was retired hurt during Afghanistan's warm-up game against Pakistan on May 24.
"I was removed from the 2015 World Cup (not selected for fitness reasons) and now, this one as well. I am going to consult my friends and family. My heart isn't in cricket anymore," Espncricinfo quoted him as saying.However, defending the board action, ACB chief executive Asadullah Khan asserted that there had been no foul play in dropping of the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"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 a difficult decision to drop one of our key players," said Asadullah.
"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.
After returning to Kabul, Shahzad hit out at ACB board management and in an interaction with local media, he said, 'I went to a doctor in London and he drained my knee of some fluids, gave me a pill and said that I could play after resting for two-three days.
"I had a practice session, bowled, batted, and had a keeping session... had lunch with my team-mates, and then sat down in the team bus (to return to the hotel), only to see the ICC press release on my phone saying that I am out of the World Cup. That was the moment, when I found out that I was unfit.
"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. If they don't want me to play, I will quit cricket.
"I don't see myself playing anymore. It's a dream to play the World Cup," he added. Shahzad is Afghanistan's highest ODI run-getter, with 2727 runs at an average of 33.66 in 84 games. (UNI)