Pak paceman Shabbir heading to South Africa

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Port Elizabeth:Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said that fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed was on his way to South Africa as a replacement after serving a one-year ban for having an illegal bowling action.

But Inzamam refused to confirm a report from Pakistan that injured fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had been fined after a public confrontation with coach Bob Woolmer during the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

"It is an internal team matter," said Inzamam. He also said a final decision would only be taken Monday night about Shoaib and fellow injured bowler Umar Gul returning home. "We'll decide tonight. The doctor's report is coming and then we will decide."

But he indicated that the tour was probably over for both players with the decisive third Test and five One-day internationals still to be played.

He said it was important that potential World Cup players should be fully fit ahead of the global tournament in the West Indies in March.

"We are not taking any chances because after the South African One-day series it is a short time to the World Cup," he said.

Inzamam said Shabbir, whose ban ended last month, would arrive in South Africa on Thursday, the day before the start of the final Test in Cape Town. "Shabbir is coming but I don't know his condition," he admitted.

Meanwhile, all-rounder Shoaib Malik is likely to be fit for the One-day series after missing the Test matches because of injury.

"He is 90 percent fit. Hopefully after two or three days he will be 100 percent fit," added Inzamam. "But he won't be playing in the Test match because for the past two weeks he has not been in the nets."


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