Shoaib Akhtar's chances of making a comeback to the Pakistan team have suffered a blow after he failed to turn up for a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on Wednesday.
Interim chief selector Wasim Bari wanted to assess Shoaib's fitness before heading to Sri Lanka next week to discuss the composition of the squad for the upcoming one-day series with captain Younis Khan and coach Intikhab Alam. The five-ODI series starts on July 30 after the completion of the three Test matches.
"He has conveyed to us that since his mother is ill he can't leave Islamabad at this time," Bari said. Shoaib had missed last month's World Twenty20 due to a skin infection, and last represented Pakistan in the five-match ODI series against Australia two months ago. Last week, he had insisted he was back at full fitness, and claimed that he had "three to four good years left in him".
Shoaib, 33, has not been a regular member of the Pakistan side of late due to disciplinary issues and injury as well. He was involved in a tussle with the PCB after reportedly criticising the board publicly for not awarding him a central contract. Subsequently, upon his return to international cricket, he was dropped after a poor ODI series against Sri Lanka and again under-performed against Australia, taking three wickets with an average of over 50.