Shadab, who wasstruck down with a bout of hepatitis ahead of the England tour, did not travel with the rest of the squad, and has been recuperating back home since the start of the ODI series.
But speaking at the toss in Bristol, Sarfaraz told Sky Sports: “We have good news about Shadab. He will be fit for the World Cup and we are excited to have him back.”.
The development is a massive boost for Pakistan, who had selected Yasir Shah for this series instead. However, Yasir’s ODI form is a far cry from the quality that has marked him out as an elite Test match bowler, with an ODI average of nearly 50, and he was omitted from the Bristol match after a poor game at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday.
It effectively left Pakistan with two options: taking Yasir to the World Cup, or deciding to go in without a legspinner at all. Shadab’s allround ability also gave the team more flexibility with the batting order and squad selection, and as a legspinner, he is far and away the premier choice for Sarfaraz’s side.
Whether he will be fully fit right from the outset is unclear yet. The virus was discovered in his blood following routine medical tests that the PCB conducts on its players. However, its early detection is believed to have helped his recovery, and one day after Mohammad Amir’s diagnosis of chicken pox all but ruled him out of the World Cup, Shadab’s arrival will be a fillip they can most certainly use.