Shoaib Akhtar's participation in the World Twenty20 has come into doubt after a skin condition he developed last week failed to improve as was expected.
The skin infection ruled Shoaib out of the training camp the team attended in Bhurban, a mountainous hill resort near Islamabad. At the time, Shoaib expressed confidence that he would recover in time but a failure to do so has cast doubt over his place in the squad. Now, it will keep him out of the three practice matches planned between sides led by Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
"Shoaib will miss all three practice matches because of the condition," Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's coach, told Cricinfo. "At this juncture I will not say anything more about his status in Pakistan's [15-man] squad for the World Cup but we will make an announcement on it tomorrow."
Shoaib has not trained since coming back from the series against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Questions were asked of his fitness levels during the five-ODI and one Twenty20 series; he failed to fulfill his quota of ten overs in any of the four ODIs he played and bowled only two overs in the Twenty20.
Shoaib's career, particularly of late, has been littered with fitness troubles. During the ODI series against Sri Lanka earlier in the year, then captain Shoaib Malik, openly questioned whether Shoaib was capable of lasting 50 overs in the field as a bowler and fielder.
The latest episode has also reportedly upset the board, who were less than pleased that Shoaib chose to get his treatment done by a doctor of his own choice and not, as policy states, a PCB-appointed one.