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Shoaib on recovery route for third Test

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 16:15 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recovered from a stress fracture to his ankle and is likely to be available for the third Test against England, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told Reuters on Friday.

Shoaib, who is currently Pakistan's leading bowler with 165 Test wickets, was originally omitted from the touring squad because of fitness concerns that have kept him out of the side since February.

"(Shoaib) had a meeting with the team physiotherapist and trainer in England yesterday and they reported he was physically strong now and looking good for a comeback in a week's time," PCB director Abbas Zaidi told Reuters.

"They feel he needs to play one or two games to get back to full match fitness and then should be available for the third Test."

The third Test is at Headingley from August 4.

Pakistan battled to a draw in the first Test at Lord's with a depleted bowling attack and the second Test starts at Old Trafford next Thursday.

Pakistan have faced a number of fitness problems in the last month and after losing Shoaib and Rana Naved, they also had to send paceman Mohammad Asif and all rounder Shoaib Malik back to Pakistan with elbow injuries.

Zaidi said Shoaib was with his English county side Warwickshire, where he was undergoing a rehabilitation programme and would play a couple of games for them.

"Obviously he is an important member of the side and the team management is very keen to have him back as soon as possible," Zaidi added. "His pace gives the team that extra edge."

Shoaib took 17 wickets in the 2-0 Test series win over England in Pakistan towards the end of last year.

Since February, however, he has undergone a knee operation in Australia and struggled with his fractured ankle.

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