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Akhtar's misses fitness test, doubtful for ODI selection


Posted: Jul 15, 2009 at 1406 hrs IST

Karachi: Controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has added another blot on his chequered career after he failed to show up for a fitness test to strengthen his claim for a place in the Pakistan squad for the one-day series in Sri Lanka.

Interim chief selector Wasim Bari wanted Akhtar to undergo a fitness test to assess the pacer's present physical condition before he leaves for Sri Lanka to finalise the Pakistan squad for the ODI series against the emerald nation.

Bari, who will be going to Sri Lanka during the third Test match next week to consult with captain Younis Khan and coach Intikhab Alam on the composition of the ODI squad, informed that Akhtar didn't turn up for a fitness test on Monday as well as on Tuesday.

"He has conveyed to us that since his mother is ill he can't leave Islamabad at this time," Bari said. Bari said the Pakistan Cricket Board wanted to observe Akhtar's fitness at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore as he has not taken part in any competitive matches since the ODI series against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in May.

Bari, who is acting as interim chief selector, has made it clear that he wanted to see Akhtar bowl for a session of 30 to 45 minutes to assess his fitness.

Akhtar also didn't find a place in Pakistan's Twenty20 World Cup squad because of a skin infection for which he was advised 12 days rest.

The 35-year-old fast bowler was also not considered for the on-going three-match Test series against Sri Lanka which Pakistan had already lost 2-0.

But Akhtar insists he is fully fit and ready to play the ODI series although sources in the PCB made it clear that Chairman Ejaz Butt was unlikely to approve his selection without a fitness test.

Akhtar has been surrounded by controversy for a while now with former chief selector Abdul Qadir adding more spice when he claimed on Tuesday that coach Alam and manager Yawar Saeed conspired against the pacer to keep him out of the Pakistan team.

The fitness test is also important for Akhtar since Bari has confirmed that the PCB had shortlisted 30 players for the upcoming Champions Trophy in South Africa in consultation with the newly-appointed chief selector Iqbal Qasim. The board has to send the preliminary list players before July 23, the deadline set by the ICC for submission.

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