Determined Shoaib hopes to convince selectors

Published: Sunday, April 24, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Keen to be a part of the West Indies-bound Pakistan team, speedster Shoaib Akhtar hopes to convince national selectors that he had fully recovered from his hamstring injury that kept him out of the Indian tour.

"Hopefully, I should be able to convince everyone that I am fit for the West Indies tour when I play in the tournament," Shoaib was quoted as saying by a local daily ahead of the Twenty20 Cup tournament beginning in Lahore on Monday.

Chief selector Wasim Bari and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan have already raised doubts over Shoaib's selection for the Caribbean tour saying he would first have to prove that he was 100 per cent fit before being considered for selection.

Since the tournament allows a bowler only four-over spell in a match, Bari said the selectors would also like to see him bowl a long spell off his full run up in the nets if needed.

Sources said the board had got a report on Shoaib's fitness from South African trainer Grant Compton and were skeptical about him being fully fit.

They also said Shoaib would not only have to prove his fitness but also convince everyone including captain Inzamam-ul-Haq that he was willing to give 100 per cent for the team.

However, former Pakistani captain Rashid Latif and current vice-captain Younis Khan have come out in support of Shoaib being included in the team as they feel his inclusion would definitely strengthen the bowling line up and any attitude problems can be worked out across the board by the top officials.

Shoaib remains the team's most experienced bowler with 144 Test and 186 one-day wickets and in his last 15 Tests has taken 79 wickets at an average of 19 runs.

Pakistan recently managed to draw the Test series in India and win the One-day series 4-2 in India without Shoaib with Danish Kaneria taking 19 wickets in the three Tests and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan 15 in the One-dayers. Meanwhile, Pakistan's leading wicket-taker in the ODIs in Shoaib's absence, Rana Naved, who took 14 wickets in the VB series in Australia and 15 in India, believed there was a need for a bowling coach to be appointed with the senior team.

"It would definitely help. At the moment Bob Woolmer has lot of jobs on his hands, so it would be ideal for him and us bowlers if there was another guy for guidance," Rana said.

Inzamam wanted the board to appoint Waqar Younis as bowling coach before the Indian tour but the proposal fell through.

Rana also made it clear that the only persons he had sought advice from to improve his bowling were former captain Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed.

"No, I didn't speak to any of the Australians. The only person I spoke to was Waqar, who was commentating there. He told me to concentrate mostly on the old ball when it would take reverse swing, and his suggestion worked wonders."

"Back home, another former Pakistan fast bowler Aaqib Javed, who comes from my home town of Sheikhupura, has always helped me a lot," he said.

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