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Pakistan call up Akhtar for SA Test series

The selectors issue an SOS to him after Umar Gul is ruled out of the Tests with an injury.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 00:01 IST

Pakistani cricket selectors on Monday were made to eat their humble pie as a spate of injuries forced them to call up fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the three-Test series in South Africa.

The selectors, who had earlier sidelined Akhtar on the grounds that he was not match fit, issued an SOS to him after seamer Umar Gul was ruled out of the first two Tests with an ankle injury.

The first Test starts in Johannesburg from Jan 11.

A senior official of the Pakistan board (PCB) confirmed that Akhtar would be flying out to Johannesburg on Tuesday to join the team at the request of the team management.

"He has been sent purely on the request of the team management who were worried after the spate of injury problems in the team," the official said.

He said the team management wanted either Akhtar or Shabbir Ahmed as back-up for Gul.

"The selectors decided to send Akhtar as he has bowled well in the domestic matches," the official said.

Akhtar appeared in just one first-class match of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy since not being selected for the South African Test series by the selectors who said he lacked match fitness since being cleared off a doping charge and having a long-term ban set aside by an appeals tribunal of the board.

First Published: Jan 08, 2007 23:59 IST