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Shoaib out of Sri Lanka Tests

A knee injury has forced Shoaib Akhtar out of Pakistan's upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, marking yet another setback in the fast bowler's erratic career.

"There are loose bones in his knee which would need keyhole surgery. That will take two to three weeks' recovery, and means he is out of the Sri Lanka Test series," Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, told AFP. "When such an injury occurs one must not wait and have a quick operation."

Shoaib previously underwent a knee surgery ahead of the 2007 World Cup - and eventually missed the tournament. But of late, he has been in the news following a dismal performance against Sri Lanka in Pakistan's recent ODI series played at home. Shoaib conceded 88 runs in 13 overs and took just one wicket in the first two ODIs to be promptly dropped for the third after his then captain Shoaib Malik questioned his fitness and commitment, only to tone down on the eve of the series decider.

A mixture of injury concerns, disciplinary problems and controversies has affected Shoaib's participation in international cricket. Since February 2006, he has played just three Tests and 11 ODIs.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to visit Pakistan after the ongoing home ODI series against India. The dates and venues for the tour are yet to be finalised.