Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009 July 18, 2009

Shoaib not picked for ODI series

Cricinfo staff

Shoaib Akhtar will not be considered for the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka, because of the uncertainty surrounding his match fitness, Wasim Bari, the PCB director for human resources and administration, has said. "Without knowing his match fitness how can we select him for the series," Bari was quoted as saying to Press Trust of India. "Until he does not play a few matches we cannot be sure of his match fitness."

However, Shoaib still stands a chance of being selected for the squad for the Champions Trophy to be held in South Africa later in the year. The PCB is to finalise its preliminary list of 30 players for the tournament by July 23. "If he [Shoaib] is in the 30, his fitness can be assessed later on," Bari said.

Shoaib missed last month's World Twenty20 due to a skin infection, and last represented Pakistan in the five-match ODI series against Australia two months ago. Last week, he insisted he was back at full fitness, and claimed that he had "three to four good years left in him".

Shoaib, 33, has not been a regular member of the Pakistan side of late due to disciplinary issues as well as injuries. He was involved in a tussle with the PCB after reportedly criticising the board publicly for not awarding him a central contract. Subsequently, upon his return to international cricket, he was dropped after a poor ODI series against Sri Lanka and again under-performed against Australia, taking three wickets with an average of over 50.