Fit-again Shoaib back in Pak squad
Paceman Shoaib Akhtar regains full fitness to claim a place in Pakistan's 15-man squad for the upcoming tour of Scotland.Updated: Jun 16, 2007 17:53 IST
Paceman Shoaib Akhtar regained full fitness to claim a place in Pakistan's 15-man squad for the upcoming tour of Scotland, selectors announced in Pakistan on Saturday.
The 32-year-old missed the World Cup in the Caribbean due to a knee injury and was also left out of the squad for the three-match series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi last month.
However, Akhtar bowled strongly at the team's tune-up camp for the tour of Scotland, where Pakistan play one-off limited over internationals against India on July 1 and against the hosts two days later.
The injury-prone fast bowler played briefly for Pakistan in their Test series against South Africa in January before breaking down once more. His last one-day international was against England in September.
Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said Akhtar's fitness is a good omen for Pakistan.
"A fit Akhtar is an asset for Pakistan and we have watched him bowl so he was included and we hope he'll do well," said Ahmed.
In October Akhtar was banned for two years and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif for one year after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone, but the bans were later overturned on the grounds that they took the substance unknowingly.
Both missed the World Cup as Akhtar was battling a knee and hamstring injury, while Asif had an elbow injury.
Former vice-captain and leading batsman Younis Khan also returned to the team after missing the Sri Lanka series due to his commitment with English county Yorkshire.
Pakistan had a troubled World Cup where they were dumped out in the first round following defeats against the West Indies and minnows Ireland.
They also lost their coach Bob Woolmer who died in the team hotel after Pakistan's exit. Police launched a murder inquiry, but now say he died of natural causes.
Their captain Inzamam-ul-Haq later announced his retirement from one-day cricket while his potential replacement Younis refused to lead the side citing personal reasons.
It forced the authorities to chose young Shoaib Malik as the new captain.
Pakistan is still searching of a new coach and hope to shortlist contenders on Sunday before taking a final decision later this month.
Squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Imran Nazir, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami.
First Published: Jun 16, 2007 17:30 IST