Umar Akmal to consult neurologist
The Pakistan Cricket Board has sought the advice of a neurologist to further examine the batsman Umar Akmal, who spent a night at a hospital after a seizure on the flight to Jamaica last Wednesday. Akmal, who was playing in the Caribbean Premier League at the time, was asked by the PCB to return to Pakistan and was subsequently ruled out of the limited-overs leg of the Zimbabwe tour.
"It is one in a series of steps that the PCB will be undertaking in assessing the medical problem that occurred to Umar Akmal while he was in the West Indies," the PCB said in a statement. "Umar Akmal is Pakistan's asset and it is important that all necessary measures are taken so that the PCB is assured that he is available to play for Pakistan without posing any risk to his health".
Until yesterday, Akmal did not admit to suffering any illness and asserted that he was fully fit for national selection. ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB withdrew his selection as a precautionary measure, going by the initial medical report.
The board declared Akmal "medically not fit" and replaced him with the wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
"Apparently Umar looked fine but he has been asked to go through a complete medical examination to reassess his condition," PCB doctor Sohail Saleem said. "We were concerned about his health when informed about his medical condition in the West Indies so we have decided to engage a neurologist for detailed advice."
Neurologist Dr Saad Shafqat said Akmal needn't worry. Two cricketers, Jonty Rhodes and Tony Greig, didn't let epilepsy affect their international careers.
"If the MRI is clear then there will be no problems, it will be controlled," Shafqat told AFP. "At Umar's age epilepsy is light and we don't take it as a serious disease."
Pakistan's limited-overs leg of the Zimbabwe tour runs from August 23 to 31. The first Test begins September 3, but Akmal was not picked in the Test squad.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here