After missing the 3rd and final test against India with a fractured ankle, Shoaib Malik is now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. The plaster cast has been removed and he will now start the process of a graduated weight bearing and strengthening program to get him back running and playing. At this point in time he is hopeful of a return for the Zimbabwe ODI's late in January '08.
The injury occurred in a soccer game/cool down session after the second test, which ignites an interesting issue that always seems to fester between players and sports medicine staff. Soccer and football have been identified as an activity which seems to introduce too high a risk of injury to warrant its place as a warm up or cool down activity for cricket. The players however are always on the side of the fun and relaxing element of the games; their arguement being that it provides an environment for a little bit of banter and stress release before a match. The compromise usually goes in favour of the players of course, however some teams have stuck with a no spike policy to ensure there is less chance of gripping injuries in the turf (like ACL tears).
In other injury news around the Pakistan team, Mohammad Asif is coming along well after he opted for surgery on his Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) after struggling for some time with the injury. This problem, which also frustrated Sachin Tendulkar to the point of surgery, is common among top order batsman. For the conservative management options available for lateral epicondylitis click here.
Umar Gul has a back strain and is looking to start bowling again in early January.