Akhtar's commitment under scanner
Pak captain Shoaib Malik and manager Talat Ali question paceman Akhtar's commitment during the India tour.cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2007 19:03 IST
Maverick pacer Shoaib Akhtar continues to ruffle feathers with Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and team manager Talat Ali questioning his commitment during the recent tour of India.
Malik and Ali met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Nasim Ashraf and other high ranking board officials in Lahore on Friday after they returned from India and sources said they were not happy with the level of commitment showed by Shoaib Akhtar in India.
Akhtar had a good first Test in New Delhi taking four wickets in the second innings but he remained off-colour in the last two Tests that were drawn.
What apparently went against the pacer is that he stayed back in India for a few days to attend personal matters, including mulling an offer to act in a Bollywood film.
Sources say that Malik and Talat both told the PCB officials that Shoaib was difficult to control and was unwilling to adhere to the normal guidelines for the other players.
"They felt this didn't create a good impression on other players and didn't set the right example for harmony within the team," one source disclosed.
The source said the captain and coach had also complained about pacer Umar Gul who had to return home without playing a Test due to a back problem.
"They conveyed that Gul was not forthright about his fitness and the extent of the back problem and thus kept everyone in the dark and upset the team planning for the first two Tests," the source said.
Ashraf told a news conference after meeting with Malik and Talat that he was not amused by Akhtar's antics of playing around with a teddy tiger doll on the boundary while fielding or sitting in the dressing room as it didn't leave a very strong impression of the team.
He also said curtly when asked about Akhtar's acting ambitions that it would be better if the fast bowler returned home and just concentrated on his cricket.
Akhtar's frequent late night outings, which made the headlines in Indian media, were also discussed in the meeting.
Akhtar's going off the field on the first day of the final Test in Bangalore with a back problem and refusing to come on the field after MRI scans showed it was a muscle spasm and nothing serious also came up for discussion.
It was decided at the meeting that all the players will be told to play in domestic matches from later this month to assess their fitness and form ahead of other assignments.