Shoaib~~s injury woes making him a liability: Iqbal

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Questioning Shoaib Akhtar's commitment to the team, former Pakistan captan Asif Iqbal said the mercurial pacer's constant injury woes -- sometimes not as serious as he makes them out to be -- are fast turning him into a liability for the side.

Writing in his column for The News, Iqbal said Shoaib did deserve credit for wrecking the South African batting in the first innings of the second Test in the ongoing series but he has let the team down by his subsequent decision to opt out.

''Great as Shoaibs contribution was, it was totally marred by subsequent events -- his injury which kept him away for the rest of the match and his dressing room spat with coach Bob Woolmer in full view of TV cameras,'' Iqbal wrote.

''There have been some reports that the disagreement with Woolmer arose when Shoaib wanted to take the field in spite of his injury but Woolmer opposed it; that, I can say with some authority, is a load of rubbish. It was Shoaib who did not want to take the field and by doing so, he let his side down badly,'' he added.

The former captain called on the Pakistan Cricket Board to decide fast on the pacer's future as he could be major risk if selected for the World Cup.

''It really is time for the PCB to sort out the Shoaib problem once for all before the World Cup because if he goes to the Caribbean and pulls out after a few overs, that would put the squad one man short for the rest of the World Cup. Personally, I do not think it is worth taking that risk,'' Iqbal said.

''Shoaibs injury does raise real issues about his fitness and preparedness to play for Pakistan. If the injury was not as serious as he made it out to be, or not there at all as some rumours suggest, then it has to be said that with that sort of commitment a player is less an asset and more of a liability.

''On the other hand, if the injury is genuine, then if after eleven months away from Test cricket all that he can manage on his return is twenty odd overs, then that is not the sort of contribution any captain would want and if Indeed Inzamam is reticent about having him in the side, I can quite understand that reticence,'' he further added.


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