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Last chance for Shoaib to silence critics: Ashraf

Lahore, Oct 26 (UNI) Temperamental fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will have one last chance to prove his mettle and silence his detractors once and for all on the most important tour of India, believes PCB chief Nasim Ashraf.

''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.'' Hoping that Shoaib will play a major role in the Indian tour, the PCB chief pointed out that it will be a great chance for the bowler to silence his critics.

''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.'' Terming the Indian tour ''the most important one,'' he said its more important than the World Cup. The PCB chief made it clear that he would like to see all the players in their best behaviour, so that they can achieve desired results.

''The tour of India is certainly the most important assignment for our team and is perhaps even more important than the World Cup,'' Ashraf told 'The News'.

''I expect that all the players, including Shoaib Akhtar would be at their best behaviour and give their hundred per cent on the tour because we have to deliver good results against India.'' The maverick pacer is all set to be a part of Pakistan's touring Odyssey's to India to play five ODI, and three Test matches during their tour starting next month.

Akhtar will complete a 13-match ban after Pakistan play their fourth one-dayer against South Africa in Multan 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, has cleared him for national duty and the pacer will in all likelyhood be named in the India bound squad.

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 was confident that Shoaib and the other senior players will be be a positive force for the Pakistan team and will act as a positive force 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.

Confident that Pakistani cricketers will excel both on and off the field in India, the PCB chief said, ''Our team will play positive and attacking cricket in India and we will win.'' Young all-rounder Shoaib Malik will be leading Pakistan for the first time in an away Test series.

Pakistan are scheduled to play five match ODI series starting from Guwahati.

The next are scheduled to be played at Mohali, Kanpur, Gwalior and Jaipur.

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


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Story first published: Friday, October 26, 2007, 14:07 [IST]
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