Akhtar finds an ally in Rashid Latif

Published: Thursday, April 29, 2004, 21:46 [IST]
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Islamabad:Beleaguered Pakistani pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar has found an ally in former captain Rashid Latif who said the speedster was not one to run away from challenges and let the team down.

"Shoaib has played a lot with me and also under my captaincy. I have not known him to run away from challenges when playing for Pakistan. In fact I don't think any player while playing for the country can fake injuries as everyone wants to perform to the best of his ability for his country," Latif was quoted as saying in The News.

Latif said in the past he had seen Shoaib bowl with injuries to help the team win matches.

"In 1998 in South Africa when I was captain I witnessed Shoaib playing in the series even though his knees had developed fluid and before every game Doctor Dan Kiesel used to drain out the fluid with syringes so that he could play."

The wicketkeeper said from his experience he knew Shoaib could be difficult to handle at times and had attitude problems occasionally but he had never let the team down.

"So if there is talk now that he deliberately let the team down by not bowling on the third day of the final Test, then the Board needs to find out what are the causes that might have led to such circumstances or allegations," he said adding it would be wrong to blame individual players for the defeat to India in the recent Test series.

"To blame anyone in particular or a few individuals for the defeat is not fair. Pakistan had problems against a very good and well-knitted side. The Board needs to get to the bottom of such things," said the outspoken player.

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