Shoaib to have knee surgery in England

Shoaib Akhtar chats with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene AFP

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been ruled out of selection for the ODI series against New Zealand next month as he will be heading to England for knee surgery. His recovery is expected to take six weeks, which means he will also miss the start of Pakistan's first-class competition.

"Akhtar will miss at least six matches, let's see whether he will play the remaining three group matches for us next month," Rashid Iqbal, the spokesman for Shoaib's first-class team Khan Research Laboratories, told Associated Press.

The Pakistan board has refused to pay for Shoaib's surgery though he is a centrally contracted player by pointing to a clause in the contract that says players can be provided medical treatment by the board only if they sustain injuries while on national duty. "Unless he plays and proves his fitness he cannot be considered for any future competition," Pakistan chief selector Iqbal Qasim told Reuters.

Pakistan and New Zealand will meet for three ODIs and two Twenty20s from November 3-13 in the UAE.