Akhtar will have to prove form, fitness: PCB

Lahore, Jul 17 (UNI) Even though the maverick fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been included in Pakistan's provisional squad for the Champions Trophy, the speedster will have to prove his fitness to get a place in the final 15-member squad for the tournament.

Shoaib, who has not played for his country this year, was given some relief after the Lahore High Court temporarily lifted an 18-month ban imposed on him by an appellate tribunal.

PCB Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said Akhtar, who had a brief stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) would not only have to prove his match fitness but his form as well in practice matches scheduled at the end of a training camp in Kakul.

''We will organise three practice games and all players, including Shoaib, will have to show their match fitness in these games,'' Salahuddin was reported as saying in The News.

''We respected the decision of the court and decided to give him a chance to prove his fitness and earn his place in the team,'' he added.

Earlier, Akhtar was banned for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on disciplinary grounds, but a three-member appellate tribunal reduced the ban to 18 months, while imposing a fine of seven million rupees.

After Shoaib appealed, the Lahore High Court lifted the ban pending a final verdict in September.


Story first published: Thursday, July 17, 2008, 15:36 [IST]
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