Abbas advises Akhtar to retire but chief selector defends him | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Abbas advises Akhtar to retire but chief selector defends him

Pakistan's former Test captain Zaheer Abbas feels controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was now mere a shadow a himself and advises him to retire from international cricket.

cricket Updated: Apr 27, 2009 12:18 IST

Pakistan's former Test captain Zaheer Abbas feels controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was now mere a shadow a himself and advises him to retire from international cricket.

Zaheer pointed out that Shoaib had been struggling for fitness and with disciplinary problems for the last two and a half years and he was not his former self as a bowler at all.

"It is obvious now after watching him bowl in the first two matches that he is neither fit and he is struggling to cope with the demands of international cricket," Zaheer said.

"He has failed to deliver for Pakistan for a while now and I think it is best he retires and allows a younger bowler to take his place in the team," the former batsman said.

He was critical of the fact that by playing Shoaib the Pakistan team management were depriving a fitter and more penetrative bowler to represent the country, which is harmful to the team.

The fast bowler has also come in for critical comments from other ex-skippers Rameez Raja and Waqar Younis, who are commentating on the one-day series against Australia on television while legendary Imran Khan has rued that Shoaib had not done justice to his full potential as a bowler as yet.

Shoaib has gone wicketless in the first two games against Australia and in his last four matches for the national team.

Shoaib has just one wicket to his credit without completing 10 overs in any of his last four matches.

Disciplinary and fitness problems have seen Shoaib play just 12 of his country's last 71 ODIs before the start of the Australia series.

But Chief Selector Abdul Qadir jumped to Shoaib's defence insisting that it was not important that Shoaib had not taken any wickets in the first two games against Australia.

"We are not worried that he is not taking wickets the main thing is that he is playing and he is working hard. He played despite some viral infection problem and that means he has spirit and the keenness to play for the team," Qadir said.

The former Test leg-spinner said given Shoaib's experience it would not be long before he started taking wickets.

"The main thing we are concerned with at the moment is that he continues to play consistently over a period of matches which will prove his fitness to us," he added.

Qadir said Zaheer's comments and advise to the bowler to retire were unjust and a hard.

"I think we need to be a bit patient with Shoaib there is no doubt he is trying hard to comeback strongly and it is not easy bowling in the conditions in Dubai," he said.