Bob Woolmer: 'Today he [Shoaib] looked trim and slim but he hasn't bowled for six months'
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Shoaib Akhtar continued to ease his way back towards fitness with 11 promising overs against West Indies A at Shenley. The match was originally scheduled as a two-day game, but was switched to two separate one-day matches. However, following interruptions for rain and bad light it will go down as a limited overs game that ended in a draw.
A decision on Shoaib's fitness will be taken after he has bowled in tomorrow's second one-day match although he remains more likely to feature in the one-day series than the final Test at The Oval.
"It is less necessary to field such players after we have lost the Test series," Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach said, "but that doesn't mean we don't want to win the Oval Test. We want to win the last Test to prove our critics wrong. I don't think we have done badly, England played better."
Asked if Shoaib could be risked, Woolmer said it was still possible. "If it's necessary," he said. "I wonder if it is necessary, just for the sake of winning a Test then why can't others who are match fit and doing well not do that?
"Shoaib had a stress fracture and what he has to do is to play little bit of cricket, and the perfect scenario I see for him is to get fit for the five one day internationals, the ICC Trophy then the home series against the West Indies. That is really the sort of path I want for him.
"I don't want to make this judgement before talking to him. If he bowls 15-20 overs by Sunday then I will ask him because he will be in a better position to tell. Today he looked trim and slim but he hasn't bowled for six months,"
Shoaib started in style by bowling Devon Smith with the fifth ball of the day, but couldn't add to his tally as Lendl Simmons struck a fine 106 off 122. Simmons and Runako Morton added 86 for the second wicket and both batsmen hooked Shoaib for six. Dwayne Smith then added 116 with Simmons to turn the West Indies innings around from 99 for 4. Samiullah Khan picked up three figures during a lively spell.
Richard Kelly then struck with the new ball and Dwayne Smith removed Salman Butt as Pakistan slipped to 51 for 3. However, Imran Farhat enhanced his prospects of a Test recall with an unbeaten 43-ball 62 before the light closed in and the teams agreed to a one-day draw.