Shoaib Akhtar to get contract despite injuries

Published: Tuesday, June 13, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's improved attitude and discipline will get him a new central contract from the Pakistan Cricket Board despite recurring fitness problems, a senior PCB official said today.

Shoaib, 30, was ruled out of the first two Tests against England last week after specialists advised him to take six weeks' rest for a ankle stress fracture that had failed to heal properly.

Despite playing just six Tests since January 2005 because of fitness problems, including a knee operation in Australia, he is set to receive another contract.

''His attitude has improved a lot and he is committed to getting fit and team discipline,'' Chairman Shaharyar Khan told Reuters.

''There is a big improvement in his behaviour since last year. We have got good reports about him. There is no question of him not getting a central contract.'' The PCB will issue fresh annual contracts to around 20 players before they leave for England later this month to play four Tests and five One-dayers.

Shaharyar said once Shoaib, who has taken 165 Test and 199 One-day wickets, is fit he will be considered for selection.

''After six weeks he can start afresh.'' The PCB chief said the board had decided to increase the central contract amounts which would be decided after formal talks with the players.

''We are also going to weave in performance oriented bonuses and incentives for them in their new contracts.''

The PCB has also proposed in writing to the Zimbabwe cricket union to cancel their scheduled tour to Pakistan this year and make a full tour in January 2008.

''We have told them in writing we can't afford to have just three One-dayers against them as it is not financially viable for us or our television broadcasters,'' Shaharyar said.

''We want them to make a full tour in 2008 when their Test status should also be restored.'' Zimbabwe had been scheduled to play three Tests and five One-day internationals in Pakistan this year but following a dispute between the African nation's cricket administration and its players, their Test status was suspended until February 2007.

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