Pakistan in Australia 2004-05 January 12, 2005

Akhtar fit for Twenty20 and VB Series

Cricinfo staff

Shoaib Akhtar: will he be ready for the VB Series? © Getty Images

Shoaib Akhtar is fit for the VB Series and is likely to play in Thursday's Twenty20 match against Australia A. He missed both of Pakistan's warm-up matches against Australia A for the VB Series, and was also ruled out of the tsunami appeal game at Melbourne on Monday because of back and hamstring strains.

"Hopefully he is playing tomorrow," Inzamam told reporters on Wednesday. "He is fully better now and hopefully he is playing in the one-day series." Akhtar had gone to the doctors and taken injections for his back on Monday. Pakistan's first game in the VB Series, which also involves West Indies, is against Australia at Hobart on January 16.

Not much has gone right for Pakistan during the last month in Australia. Not only did they suffer a humiliating whitewash, but several players were laid low by injuries, and Inzamam himself was doubtful for the VB Series. After missing the second and third Tests against Australia, Inzamam struggled during a net session at the Adelaide Oval but said he would assess the situation after the two practice games against Australia A.

Shoaib Malik, whose bowling action came under scrutiny recently, was to miss the two warm-up games, though Pakistan hoped he would be allowed to bowl during the tri-series. Malik's action is currently being remedied in Perth after twice being reported to the ICC. Haroon Rashid, Pakistan's team manager, said that Malik's bowling action was to be re-tested at the University of Western Australia on January 13 before he rejoined the team on January 14.