Responding to former captain Imran Khan’s advice on including fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the semi-final against India, a team official has stated that the maverick paceman has lost interest in the sport after announcing his retirement.
Khan, who was the captain when Pakistan clinched their lone World Cup in 1992, had said that Akhtar was the best man to lead the attack against the arch-rivals in Mohali on March 30.
“He has lost interest after he announced his retirement,” the official told The Express Tribune. “He barely takes part in the team’s training sessions and if Khan knew his situation, he would not have given such an advice.”
Akhtar, who has sat out four of seven matches, announced his retirement after the match against New Zealand where the bowler was plundered for 28 by Ross Taylor off what was his last over in the innings. His replacement, Wahab Riaz, has not impressed either but has been labelled “much better” by the official.
“Riaz is a much better player currently. Akhtar’s lack of interest does not qualify him for the semi-final against India.”
Akhtar has had a rather poor tournament with regards to wickets where, after claiming two key wickets against Sri Lanka, the fast-bowler has been fined on multiple occasions by the team management for indiscipline. The match against New Zealand could well be his last international game where Kamran Akmal missed two chances off his bowling.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2011.
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