‘Akhtar is getting fitter and stronger’

Monday, November 12, 2007

KANPUR: Pakistani officials insist that Shoaib Akhtar is getting fitter and stronger with each day he spends in the team camp even as speculations surfaced that he could be carrying a knee injury.

Shoaib began the series bowling at a furious pace but has been showing signs of exhaustion and is mostly relying on his slower delivery to take wickets against the Indians in the ongoing ODI series.

There were rumours that the hard work he has been through in the series has left him with a painful knee but team manager denied it here on Sunday.
“Look at him, does he look unfit,”
Talat Ali asked a group of Pakistani reporters as Shoaib bowled the match’s fifth over against India here.

“The thing about Shoaib is that people always speculate about him,”
said Talat.
“I just want to make it clear that Shoaib is a hundred percent fit and in fact he is getting fitter and fitter,”
he added.

Shoaib has spent the best part of the year on the sidelines because of injury and suspension and just returned to international cricket by featuring in the final ODI against South Africa in Lahore last month.

Shoaib, 33, is expected to play a key role in Pakistan’s campaign in the current ODI series in India as the tourists are 1-2 down and need to win the remaining two matches. More importantly, Shoaib will be needed to bowl at his brilliant best in the three-match Test series against India starting in Delhi from November 22. Talat was confident that Shoaib will play a major role in Pakistan’s Test campaign on this tour.

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