Pakistan in India 2004-05 March 10, 2005

Shoaib and Shabbir likely to join one-day squad

Cricinfo staff

Shoaib Akhtar: would be raring to play against India © Getty Images
Shoaib Akhtar and Shabbir Ahmed are making good recovery from their injuries and are likely to join the Pakistan squad in India soon. According to The News, Saleem Altaf, the Pakistan team manager, said that Shabbir had resumed bowling and was almost certain to regain his spot in the one-day side, while Shoaib's hamstring was on the mend.

"I am keeping a regular tab on Shoaib's progress in Lahore," said Altaf. "The report is that his hamstring strain has healed up and now the only thing remaining is that he passes a proper fitness test before he can be cleared to join the team. I am in touch with the board and the reports on his fitness are encouraging."

Akhtar had earlier pulled out of the Test series against India, as he failed to recover from the hamstring injury that had forced him to return half-way through the tour of Australia. Shabbir has been out of the side due to his knee problem which was operated last September.

Akhtar, Pakistan's most experienced bowler, has had problems with the board due to his off-field activities. Altaf also touched upon the alleged sour relation between the Inzamam-ul-Haq and Akhtar. "It is not such a big issue I think. Things can be sorted out. There is no major problem between them and if Shoaib is available and fit than he naturally would be required by the team."

Akhtar holds a decent Test record against India, taking 15 wickets in 4 matches at 27.66, an average that Pakistan could do with considering the strength of their bowling attack in India.