Shoaib the batsman powers Berkswell to win

Published: Sunday, August 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Returning from an ankle injury, Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar shone with the bat and struck a 31-ball 57 to help Berkswell beat St George's club, Telford, Shropshire by 144 runs in the third tier of the Birmingham league.

With the ball, the Rawalpindi Express claimed the last two St George's wickets.

Struggling with the injury, this was Shoaib's first competitive match after five months lay-off and the pacer is expected to interact with the Pakistan team management on whether he can make himself available for the side's fourth Test against England at the Oval.

Meanwhile, Shoaib's presence saw around 500 spectators thronging the ground.

''Normally we can expect one man, a cat and a dog,'' Berkswell club member Paddy Milnes told BBC News.

Berkswell's social secretary Jem Leach said, ''It had been a good afternoon - he has played his part. He hasn't come here as superstar and lorded it.'' It was club captain Dominic Ostler's initiative to rope in Shoaib. Ostler had played under current Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer for Warwickshire during the 1990s.

Shoaib was also happy with his effort in the match.

''I had a good practice. I had fun with the club. I had fun with my team mates. It was bit of entertainment for the crowd, all the fast bowlers like to bat,'' he said.

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