Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali has responded positively to the virtual rehabilitation session for his latest back injury and his specialists expect he will not require surgery and may also return to competitive cricket sooner than expected, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday. <p></p> <p></p>The board also announced it will provide financial assistance to Hasan, who is currently not a centrally contracted player, till he returns to competitive cricket. "Hasan underwent a two-hour online rehabilitation session under the supervision of Lahore-based neurosurgeon Asif Bashir, leading spinal therapist professor Peter O'Sullivan of Australia and the PCB medical team last week," according to a media release. <p></p> <p></p>The panel was encouraged with the outcomes of the opening session and will continue to closely monitor Hasan's progress over the next five weeks before deciding next steps. <p></p> <p></p>"Hasan Ali picking up injuries around the same area twice in less than a year was not a normal thing," said Dr Sohail Saleem, who heads the medical board of the PCB. <p></p> <p></p>"Consequently, we consulted some of the best and most experienced specialists and it is heartening to hear their feedback following the opening online rehabilitation session in which Hasan showed no signs of symptomatic regression," he added. <p></p> <p></p>"However, these are early days of his rehabilitation programme and we will continue to monitor his progress for the next five weeks before collectively making future decisions," he added. <p></p> <p></p>Hasan, who has played nine Tests, 53 ODIs and 30 T20Is, missed out on a central contract handed out last month due to the injury and thus the PCB has decided to provide financial assistance from the PCB Welfare Fund to the 25-year-old till he returns to competitive cricket. <p></p> <p></p>"Hasan Ali is one of our assets and heroes of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 victory. It is the PCB's responsibility to look after him during these difficult times so that he focuses and works solely on his fitness," PCB Chief Executive, Wasim Khan said. <p></p> <p></p>"Hasan is a young and energetic cricketer who has a lot of cricket left in him. The PCB will like to see him regain complete fitness so that he can resume normal services for the Pakistan men's national cricket team. Till that time, the PCB will provide him financial assistance from the PCB Welfare Fund, which exists exactly for this purpose," he added. <p></p> <p></p>Hasan was diagnosed with excessive stress in his lower back by the PCB medical panel in late April. Prior to that, Hasan had complained of a back problem in September 2019, which had eventually forced him to pull out of the tour of Australia. <p></p> <p></p>He then had a recurrence on the eve of a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match before he regained complete fitness ahead of the HBL PSL 2020, which was postponed on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.