Pakistan v India, third Test, Karachi January 27, 2006

Shoaib confirms his fitness

Cricinfo staff



A bit of grass on the wicket, and Shoaib Akhtar is fit to play © Getty Images

Pakistan's strike bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, has passed himself fit for the third Test against India at Karachi on Sunday, after overcoming an ankle problem he sustained during the two drawn matches at Lahore and Faisalabad.

"I'm fit, it's all good," he told Cricinfo, as Pakistan prepared for their first Test in the city for 15 months.

Shoaib was the bowler of the series in the Tests against England last month, picking up 17 wickets in three matches. But he has struggled to make any impact on the current series, with just one wicket in 41.2 overs.

Earlier in the week, Pakistan's captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, had been cagey about Shoaib's prospects of playing. "Yes his ankle is bothering him and right now we are not sure if he will be completely fit for the Test," said Inzamam. "But he is very keen to play and take some wickets which is good news."

In spite of his poor returns at Lahore and Faisalabad, Shoaib's absence would have been a huge blow to Pakistan's prospects of victory, especially as Karachi is widely expected to offer more assistance for the bowlers on both sides.

"Hopefully things will be different in the final Test," said Inzamam. "I do feel sorry for Shoaib and the other bowlers because in my entire career I have not really seen Tests turning out this way and the batsmen dominating the way they have done so far in this series."

"We are keen to get a result from this series because the last two series have been very well contested and it would be a pity if we didn't have a clear winner."