Shoaib Akhtar is looking forward to return to international cricket with a bang and says that he is itching to help Pakistan beat South Africa in the final one-dayer to seal the five-match series at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today.
“I’m fully fit and can bowl really fast in the match against the South Africans,” Shoaib told chief selector Salahauddin Ahmed after a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on the eve of the series-decided against the Proteas.
“Shoaib certainly looks in peak shape and we are all expecting him to bowl with a lot of fire tomorrow,” Salahuddin, a former Pakistan Test cricketer, told ‘The News’.
Shoaib is set to return to the Pakistan line-up today after having served a 13-match suspension over several episodes of misconduct which included a dressing room brawl against fellow pacer Mohammad Asif in South Africa last month.
The Rawalpindi Express has been included in a 16-man squad for the five-match one-day series against India starting in Guwahati on November 5.
“Shoaib’s return to fitness is a good omen for us before the series against India,” said Salahuddin.
“He is one of our main wicket-taking bowlers and if he finds his rhythm then We will certainly be in a good position against India,” he added.
Salahuddin also hoped that Shoaib will help Pakistan beat South Africa, a result that would help the hosts win the series 2-2 after having lost 0-1 in the two-match Test series.
“We have a very important game tomorrow and hope that Shoaib and his teammates will give their best in it.”
The 32-year-old Shoaib will be placing Asif in the final one-dayer. Salahuddin said that Asif, who returned in the fourth one-dayer in Multan after recovering from a tennis elbow, has been given a rest.
Also ‘rested’ for the Lahore ODI is opener Yasir Hameed, who will be replaced by the big-hitting Imran Nazir, who was earlier dropped from the playing eleven after a series of poor outings earlier in the series.
“Yasir has been given a rest because we wanted to give Imran Nazir another chance before the team goes to India (for a one-day series),” Salahuddin said.
Pakistan are to leave for New Delhi on November 1 to play five one-dayers and three Tests against India.
Pakistan will rest their pace workhorse Umar Gul and will instead field rookie all-rounder Sohail Tanvir for the crunch encounter.
“Gul has bowled superbly throughout the tournament but we believe that it is time for him to have a bit of a rest ahead of what is a tough tour of India,” said the chief selector.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan, salahuddin sallu, Shoaib Akhtar, South Africa, South Africa in Pakistan 2007
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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