May 4, 2001

Shoaib Akhtar: Medical reports due May 5

Special Correspondent

As to when Shoaib Akhtar will be given the all clear to board the plane for England and join the Pakistan squad was still not clear. This correspondent, however, has learnt that Akhtar is in training and has been put through some medical tests on Thursday and Friday. The results of these tests were likely to be known on Saturday (May 5), said a PCB spokesman. Only after the result of these tests is in, the date of his departure will be decided, added the spokesman. "These tests were carried out to determine his complete medical fitness for the tour, and these could not be held earlier as he was down with stomach ailment and fever", said the spokesman.

Akhtar believes that the result of the medical reports would give him a clean bill of health. In the meanwhile, Akhtar is back in training and has bowled almost an entire session here at a prestigious local club's (the Lahore Gymkhana) famed Bagh-e-Jinnah nets. He played a minor friendly game in which he bowled six overs at red hot pace but did not take a wicket. That augurs well for the Pakistan team, which had pinned a lot of hopes on Akhtar's inspiring fear and awe in the England line-up and displays the same wicket-taking skills that he had during the 1999 World Cup.

Akhtar for his part was quite emphatic that he had already regained a great deal in terms of fitness. "I am eager to join the team in England, and hopefully would be able to do so shortly, after I get an all-clear from the medical tests", said he.