Asif Iqbal advises Akhtar to alter action

Published: Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Advising Shoaib Akhtar to alter his action to make it ''smooth and natural'' like Wasim Akram, former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal said the tearaway pacer was putting his career at risk by continuing with his bowling style which will make it difficult for him to stay match fit.

''At 30, I am sure I don't need to tell Shoaib that as a fast bowler, age and time are not on his side,'' Asif wrote in his column for 'The News'.

''He has an action that literally hammers his body and therefore it will be a much harder task for him to keep himself match fit than it was for someone like say Wasim Akram who had an almost effortless action,'' he added.

Asif said Shoaib, who has been ruled out of the first two Tests of the tour of England, will find it hard to motivate himself for a return and only an increased understanding of his importance in the team can help him.

''It will take a great deal of commitment from him to get to full bowling fitness and to maintain that fitness.'' ''Shoaib's motivation, of course, has to come from the fact that it is cricket which has brought him to where he stands in life today and it is cricket that will determine where he goes from here and how he gets there,'' he said.

Upset with the recent drama surrounding Shoaib's presence and injury status in the ongoing training camp for the England tour, Asif said the whole episode could have been avoided but for the maverick bowler's off field image.

''There were all sorts of reports, ranging from his disappearance from the training camp, to the Board's reported unhappiness over the fact that he was using his personal trainer rather than the Boards official trainer,'' he said referring to the recent confusion surrounding his avilability for the tour.

Asif said he hoped to see Shoaib play some part in the series against England as a long hiatus could make it all the more difficult for him to come back.

''I strongly feel that he does need to take part in this England series at some point or the other for if he does not. The longer the break, the more difficult will be the road back,'' he said.

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