Sami gets a lifeline, will play warm-up against WI

samiMohammad Sami would get a chance to regain his place in the Pakistan squad for the home series against the West Indies as the discarded Test pacer would be fielded in a warm-up game against the tourists to be held in Lahore, a top Pakistani cricket official said on Sunday, writes Khalid Hussain.

“Though Sami failed badly during the tour of England, we have decided to give him another chance by playing him in a three-day match against the West Indies. He will have to perform to be in contention for selection in the Pakistan team,”Pakistan’s chief selector Wasim Bari told ‘The News’ in an interview.

Sami, who has been asked to appear in a ‘camp for future players’ starting in Lahore from November 1, fell out of favour with national selectors after a disappointing tour of England earlier this summer when he featured as Pakistan’s main strike bowler in the first three Tests in the absence of the injured paced duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

The international career of the 24-year-old Sami, who has taken 73 wickets in 28 Tests and has 109 One-day International (ODI) scalps from 76 matches, seemed to be over after his failure in England. However, a possible international ban for Shoaib and Asif over drug abuse can bring Sami back in contention for a Test return.

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, Sami’s biggest supporter, has time and again called for his inclusion in the team saying that Pakistan cannot afford to drop a bowler who can hurl deliveries at 90 mph or faster.

But Bari said that his express pace alone cannot earn Sami a recall. He made it clear that even if Shoaib and Asif are unavailable for the series against West Indies, Sami will only be considered if he shows any improvement.

“Sami has been given ample chances. He had an open field in England but was unable to do well. Now the only way he can come back in the side will be through performance,”he explained.

Bari said that he and fellow selectors do not believe that Sami’s career was nearing an end which is why they have decided to field him against West Indies in a warm-up game before the opening Test.

Interestingly, the three-day match Bari was talking about figures nowhere in the itinerary of the home series against West Indies which is scheduled to begin with the first Test at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore from November 1.

But the PCB is trying to squeeze in a warm-up game against the tourists in Lahore ahead of the opening Test. The problem, however, is that West Indies are still alive in the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy and will only be able to arrive in Pakistan on November 6 if they reach the final of the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in Mumbai next Sunday. Such a late arrival would leave them with just a four-day period before the start of the opening Test.

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on October 31st, 2006 with no comments.
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