Kolkata:Shoaib Akhtar will not be playing his first Indian Premier League (IPL) match as a Kolkata Knight Riders against Bangalore Royal Challengers on Thursday at Eden Gardens due to a fitness problem, team coach John Buchanan said on Wednesday.
"We are all excited about Shoaib playing for Kolkata Knight Riders. But he needs to spend some more days with the team so that he can gel well with all the members. Besides I need to be more sure about his fitness before allowing him play for the team," Buchanan said.
"Shoaib was his former self at Tuesday's three-hour match practice at Edens. In fact he was excellent. But still I think he needs some more time to gear up. It will not only benefit him but the entire team."
"Team's physio-therapist Andrew Leipus has yet not given Shoaib a fitness certificate. He will have another fitness test on Saturday. If he is declared match-fit that day, we can expect him to play Sunday's match against Hyderabad Deccan Chargers at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad," the coach added.
The Kolkata openers for Thursday's match will be Salman Butt and Akash Chopra while captain Sourav Ganguly will come fourth in the batting order.