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Akhtar unlikely to play against Zimbabawe

cricket Updated: Jan 12, 2008 22:31 IST
PTI
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Maverick fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is unlikely to get a chance against Zimbabwe in the upcoming one-day series.

Pakistan Cricket Board Nasim Ashraf has laid down a clear policy to the selectors and team management that no player should be selected unless he proves his 100 per cent match fitness, a well informed source said.

"Basically, the Board was disappointed at Shoaib's fitness in India. The idea now is that all the players who have had fitness issues in recent times will only be picked after they prove their match fitness," he said.

Pakistan go into a one-day series with Zimbabwe from January 21 with only a five-day camp for the national probables scheduled from Tuesday in Lahore.

Sources say it is likely that even if Akhtar is invited to the camp, he will not be picked on his bowling in the nets alone.

"Pakistan's next series is against Australia in March-April and there is the Pentangular tournament before that at the domestic level. The Board has told all the national players, including Shoaib, to make themselves available for the Pentangular," the source said.

He said the Pentangular is the only way for not only Akhtar, but also Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif, to prove their match fitness.

"The Board didn't like the way all the main bowlers collapsed in India. It affected the team's performances badly," the source said.

Akhtar made a return to the Pakistan team in India after serving a 13-matches ban for misconduct and before the series, he had played only five one-dayers and a Test in 18 months due to fitness and other issues.

PCB was keen to have its main bowlers 100 per cent fit for the series against Australia and was likely to give opportunities to some young pacers against Zimbabwe to strengthen bench strength.

The selectors have named a number of young pacers in the Patrons Eleven that will play against Zimbabwe in a four-day tour game in Karachi from Monday.

Manager Talat Ali said that while he had given no report on discipline against Akhtar, it was up to the selectors and Board to decide on his fitness.

"There is no doubt that in India we suffered a lot because of injuries and illness with our bowlers and it neutralised our attack," he told.

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