February 10, 2002

Wasim gets call up for one-dayers

Former captain Wasim Akram was recalled Saturday to the Pakistan squad for the three-match one-day series against the West Indies in Sharjah.

Also back in the side was off-spinner Shoaib Malik but there was no place for all-rounder Azhar Mahmood. Unconfirmed reports said Azhar was injured.

The two will replace Danish Kaneria, Faisal Iqbal and Mohammad Zahid. Zahid's comeback to international cricket was abruptly halted with the sad demise of his mother last week. He had to return from the desert city after joining the team a day later owing to delay in travel formalities. But the big news was the return of Wasim Akram who had bowled just 20 deliveries on the tour to Dhaka before limping off with a hamstring injury. Wasim underwent a series of tests before he was declared fit and available for selection by the panel of doctors.

However, it is yet to be seen if Wasim will bowl with full throttle and is at his best. Since his 20-ball first Test in Dhaka early last month, he hasn't played any competitive cricket.

Wasim, who has over 440 one-day wickets, has been hampered by a series of injuries in the twilight of his career which has left big question marks over his fitness, endurance and chances to make the squad for next year's World Cup in South Africa.

After the three one-day matches, Pakistan has a demanding season ahead with the Asian Test Championship final against Sri Lanka proposed in March and followed up by the Sharjah Cup in April. New Zealand are also expected to make a rescheduled tour to Pakistan between April 20 and May 18.

In September, Pakistan will appear in the ICC KnockOut tournament and then immediately host Australia. They leave for African safari in November and return in March after the World Cup.

The three one-day matches against the West Indies will be played on Feb 14, 15 and 17 under lights.