Injury scare for Yasir before England tour
Pakistan legspinner Yasir Shah has been ruled out of the ongoing training camp in Abbottabad after aggravating a previous knee injury, and he will undergo conservative rehabilitation for four weeks. Yasir is expected to be fit in time for the Test series in England, which starts from July 14, but he may miss the pre-series conditioning camp in Hampshire.
The bowler had suffered a meniscus tear in his knee during the ODI series against England in the UAE in November last year. In December, however, Yasir tested positive for a banned substance and was provisionally suspended. During his time away from the game, Yasir missed the New Zealand tour, the Pakistan Super League, the Asia Cup and the World T20, and did not undergo rehabilitation for his knee injury. After his suspension ended on March 27, Yasir participated in a spin-bowling camp at the National Cricket Academy, and his injury flared up again during the Pakistan Cup tournament.
An MRI scan revealed a bone bruise along with ligament stress, and the injury was centred on the meniscus tear in his left knee. An assessment confirmed that Yasir did not need surgery. Weeks before he sustained the knee injury, Yasir had suffered a back spasm, which ruled him out of the first Test against England, but he recovered to play the remaining Tests in the series.
Yasir is currently third on ICC's ranking for Test bowlers, and has taken 76 wickets in 12 Tests since his debut in October 2014, including 49 dismissals in 2015.
Yasir was given a three-month suspension after pleading guilty to breaching the ICC's Anti-Doping Code. A urine sample taken from Yasir on November 13, when Pakistan played an ODI against England in Abu Dhabi, was found to contain chlortalidone, which is on WADA's prohibited list of diuretics and masking agents and is prohibited both in-competition and out-of-competition. Chlortalidone is also used to treat high blood pressure.
Yasir later clarified that he had inadvertently taken his wife's blood pressure medication and had no intention of enhancing his performance or masking the use of another performance-enhancing substance. His defence was accepted by the ICC and he was given a penalty that was backdated to December 27, when the bowler was provisionally suspended.
Pakistan's selectors are expected to name the squad for the England tour in the first week of June. A group of more than 30 players are undergoing training in Abbottabad, working on their fitness under the supervision of the Pakistan Military Academy. The squad for England will have a camp in Hampshire, followed by two tour matches, against Somerset and Sussex. The first Test of the four-match series starts at Lord's on July 14.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson