Shoaib not to return before next month: PCB

Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has ruled out Shoaib Akhtar's return before the fourth and final Test against England next month as the paceman is not ''fit enough to play''.

The Rawalpindi pace ace, who is nursing an ankle stress fracture, had expressed hopes to be fit before the second Test beginning from July 27 at Old Trafford.

''We wanted Shoaib to play some matches in Pakistan but the problem is that there isn't much cricket being played there at this time of the year. Now we are trying to find some good matches for him here in England,'' PCB chief Shaharyar Khan was quoted as saying by the News.

''Shoaib has been out of international cricket for quite some time and cannot just walk back in the squad. Such a step could be counter-productive so we would take our time before recalling him,'' Mr Khan added.

He said Shoaib would only be able to stake a claim for a Test return if he proves his fitness in those practice games. The best Shoaib could do was to feature in the final Test of the four-match series at The Oval and later in the five-match One-day contest, he added.

Shoaib last played for Pakistan in the Karachi Test against India in January this year.

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