PCB chief asks Shoaib Akhtar to fulfill responsibility as senior player

Friday, October 26, 2007

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Dr. Nasim Ashraf on Thursday asked comeback fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to fulfill his responsibility as a senior player and prove his critics wrong with a forceful performance during the all-important tour of India starting from next week.

“The tour of India is certainly the most important assignment for our team and is perhaps even more important than the World Cup,”
the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman said.

“I expect that all the players including Shoaib Akhtar would be at their best behaviour and give their hundred percent on the tour because we have to deliver good results against India.”

Shoaib is all set to be a part of Pakistan’s touring party to India to play five one-dayers and three Tests during November-December.

He will complete a 13-match ban when Pakistan play their fourth one-dayer against South Africa in Multan today and will be available for selection for the final game of the series to be played in Lahore on October 29.

National selector Saleem Jaffer, who followed Shoaib’s progress in a domestic match recently, has cleared him for national duty and the pacer will be named in the squad for the India tour likely to be announced today.

However, earning a recall to the national side is not the only target facing the 32-year-old pacer.

He is still on probation after hitting teammate Mohammad Asif with a bat last month and has been warned that another breach of the PCB’s Code of Conduct would result in a life ban.

Ashraf agreed that Shoaib will be walking on thin ice but added that he is hoping the player has learnt his lesson.

“I hope that Shoaib will be a changed man on the tour of India,”
said the PCB chief.
“It is his last chance and we all hope that this time he would not waste it.”

Ashraf said that Pakistan will need Shoaib at his best on the tour of India.

“Shoaib has a role to play for Pakistan,”
he said.
“He also has a point to prove and should give his best to silence his critics who believe he is spent force.”

Ashraf was confident that Shoaib and the other senior players will turn out to be a positive force for Team Pakistan in India.

“I’m sure Shoaib and all the other experienced boys will fulfill their responsibility as senior players and act as a positive force to lift the morale of the national team,”
he said.

The PCB chief was confident that Pakistani cricketers will excel both on and off the field in India.

“Our team will play positive and attacking cricket in India and we will win,”
he concluded.

Young all-rounder Shoaib Malik will be leading Pakistan for the first time in an away Test series.

Pakistan are scheduled to fly out for New Delhi on November 1 where they play a warm-up game starting from Nov 2. They meet India in a five match ODI series starting from Nov 5 in the eastern Indian city of Guwahati.

The rest of the one-dayers will be played in Mohali (Nov 8), Kanpur (Nov 11), Gwalior (Nov 15) and Jaipur (Nov 18).

The three Tests will be played in New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore.

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