Bari to meet Woolmer, Inzamam before

wasimbariAs conflicting reports continued to surface on Shoaib Akhtar’s ankle injury on Tuesday, chief selector Wasim Bari admitted that it would be a difficult decision to include or drop the match-winning pacer from the Pakistan team for their tour of England.

“It is certainly the most difficult decision that the selection committee will have to take when it meets in Lahore on June 8,” Bari told ‘The News’ here on Tuesday.

It is because of Shoaib’s importance for the tour of England and the uncertainty that prevails over his fitness that Bari will hold another round of meetings with Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in Lahore today.

“I’ve already met Inzamam and Woolmer recently to take their inputs over the team’s selection for the tour of England but recent developments have made it necessary for us to meet again,” said Bari who returned to Karachi for a day after attending a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ad-hoc Committee meeting in Lahore earlier this week.

Bari said he would mainly be discussing the Shoaib issue with the coach and captain and whether he should be included in the 16-man team for the tour of England. “I would want to take their point of views on the issue before our committee meets on Thursday,” said the former Test cricketer.

Shoaib is a part of Pakistan’s 21-man preliminary squad for the tour of England but is facing an anxious wait over a second opinion on a scan of his injured ankle.

Sources close to the speedster claim that the injury is of a minor nature and Shoaib would be fit to feature in the opening Test against England that starts from July 13 at Lord’s.

However, a PCB official added weight to speculations that Shoaib might be sidelined from the initial part of the tour of England when he said that the bowler has been advised a three-week rest because of a swollen ankle. Salim Atlaf, PCB’s Director of Cricket Operations, said a medical commission asked to study the bowler’s injury believes that Shoaib cannot bowl or undergo any strenuous training for the remaining part of the month.

The medical commission’s recommendation can rule out Shoaib’s inclusion in the Pakistan squad later this week but Bari said he would wait for something in black and white before taking a final decision. “There is nothing in writing for us on Shoaib’s fitness issue so I can’t say what we might opt for in our meeting to select the team,” he said.

He expressed that it is always difficult for the selectors to leave out a potential match-winner, saying, “There is no doubt that Shoaib is a key player for us but then he has to be fit to be able to live up to the expectations. He cannot be included in the team without achieving and proving full match fitness.”

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on June 8th, 2006 with no comments.
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