Woolmer wants to give Azhar Mahmood a chance

Published: Thursday, June 24, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Forgotten Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood could be back in reckoning for a place in the national side after coach Bob Woolmer indicated that he might want him to join the Asia Cup training camp at Lahore.

Woolmer, who will be taking over charge on July 2, has reportedly spoken to Mahmood about his future plans in London where the all-rounder plays for Surrey along with another Pakistani Saqlain Mushtaq.

Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that Woolmer had indicated to the Board that he believed Mahmood still had plenty of cricket left in him and could prove useful for Pakistan in One-day matches.

"Woolmer is meeting PCB officials in London next week and there are chances he might ask them to consider Azhar for the Asia Cup camp," the sources were quoted as saying by The News on Thursday.

Incidentally, Woolmer was South Africa's cricket coach when Azhar scored three Test hundreds against them in 1997 and 1998 series (in Pakistan and South Africa) and also bowled well.

Azhar has largely been overlooked by the selectors in recent times and played sparingly for Pakistan. His last appearance came in New Zealand in the One-day series earlier this year.

Woolmer has also spoken to fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who has been playing for Durham and the sources said he had conveyed to Woolmer he would be joining the national camp in Lahore.

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