Akhtar back in Pakistan ODI team

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibakhtar_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Pakistan cricket selectors recalled Shoaib Akhtar for the five ODIs and a twenty20 game against Australia in the United Arab Emirates later this month.

Updated: April 06, 2009 11:26 IST
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Pakistan cricket selectors on Monday recalled fit-again fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the five one-day internationals and a twenty20 game against Australia in the United Arab Emirates later this month.

"Akhtar is super fit," chief selector Abdul Qadir told reporters while announcing a 15-member squad.

Akhtar, 33, has played just two one-day internationals in 16 months due to disciplinary and fitness problems.

Nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, Akhtar underwent a strenuous three-day fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore last week and impressed selectors with his pace.

"The doctor and physio told us that his fitness level has increased which is a good sign for Pakistan," Qadir said. "He also bowled four overs in the nets last Friday in front of the selectors and one of his deliveries was recorded at 149 kph."

In January, Akhtar made an unimpressive return to international cricket after 14 months out and he was subsequently dropped after taking just one wicket for 88 runs in two limited-overs games against Sri Lanka at home. He failed to complete his full quota of 10 overs in either of the games.

He was later ruled out of the Test series against Sri Lanka due to knee injury.

Akhtar was also part of the Pakistan team which defeated the West Indies 3-0 in a one-day series in Abu Dhabi last year, but was injured during a practice session ahead of the first match.

Akhtar's fitness was tested by Pakistan team doctor Sohail Salim and trainer David Dwyer.

"A fit Shoaib Akhtar is an asset for Pakistan," Qadir said.

Beside Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat are the other four pace bowlers named in the squad.

The five-match one-day series begins in Dubai on Apr. 22.

It will be Pakistan's first one-day international against the world champion in more than four years.

Both teams last met in a triangular series _ also featuring the West Indies _ in Australia in Feb. 2005 when the world champion recorded a 31-run victory in Sydney.

The Pakistan Cricket Board shifted the series to UAE after Australia expressed security concerns over sending its team to Pakistan.

Dubai will host two matches before organizing a twenty20 game on May 7. Abu Dhabi will host the remaining three matches.

Pakistan will play a practice match before the series starts in Dubai and the selectors included experienced Faisal Iqbal and Yasir Hameed in that squad.


Younis Khan (captain), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat, Saeed Ajmal, Rao Iftikhar, Shoaib Akhtar.

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