Shoaib may return for Afro-Asia Cup


Karachi : Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar may get a chance to revive his career, when selectors sit down to pick the Asian squad for the Afro-Asian Cup in June, media reported Monday.

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According to The News, the fast bowler is one of the five Pakistani cricketers recommended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the Asian squad that will play against African test playing nations in Bangalore and Chennai from June 6-10.

Newly appointed captain Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Yousuf, all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq are the other Pakistani players in the run to make it in the Asian all-star team in Afro-Asia Cup's second edition.

Medium pacer Mohammad Asif, who missed the World Cup in the Caribbean because of fitness problems, might also be considered.

The newspaper quoting sources said that former test player Mohsin Hassan Khan would push the case of the Pakistani stars when a four-man selection committee would meet in Dhaka later this week to finalise the Asian team.

The PCB recently nominated Mohsin, a former national junior coach, on the selection committee. Other members of the Selection Committee are A.S.M. Fauque from Bangladesh, Chetan Chauhan from India and Lalith Kaluperuma from Sri Lanka.

Shoaib's availability for the Afro-Asia Cup is surprising considering he has made himself unavailable for a three-match one-day series against World Cup finalists Sri Lanka to be played in Abu Dhabi from May 18-22.

Shoaib, 31, told national selectors last month that he needed more time to attain full match fitness and asked them not to consider him for a national training camp held in Lahore ahead of the series against Sri Lanka.

The Rawalpindi-born pacer was forced to miss the World Cup because of fitness problems.

Shoaib recently announced he was planning an international comeback in September after getting fully fit.

Sources said that one of the reasons behind Shoaib's expected participation in the Afro-Asia Cup is his star value. The tearaway pacer is regarded as one of the biggest stars in international cricket and organisers and sponsors of the Afro-Asia Cup believe his presence in the contest would help raise the profile of the tournament.