Karachi:Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam is against putting pressure on comeback paceman Shoaib Akhtar in the upcoming one-day series against Australia, saying the idea is to gauge his fitness, keeping in mind future series.
Shoaib and Australian pacer Brett Lee are making a comeback to their teams after a long injury lay-off and Intikhab said they will surely be cynosure of all eyes.
"Brett Lee has had an operation and has been out of action for sometime. Similarly Shoaib has also struggled with a knee problem recently and has not played much cricket in the last few months. So both know their would be lot of attention on them," Intikhab told reporters in Lahore during the national conditioning camp.
"We will be looking closely at Shoaib's fitness and how he comes along in the first match. We don't want to put extra pressure or burden on him. We will try to nurse him through the series as we have other important competitions coming up as well," Intikhab added.
The former Test captain said it would be unwise to expect the two tearaway bowlers to perform immediately in the coming series of five One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 match.
The Pakistan coach said there was on doubt that Shoaib could play a vital role in the series even though in the last 15 months he has played just two one-day games.
"The main thing is he has been working very hard. And he is motivated to perform for the team. But we want to make sure he comes through the series without any fitness issues," Intikhab said.
The coach said the conditions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai would definitely encourage the pace bowlers from both sides to reverse swing the ball.
"In the evening there will be dew problems and a special chemical spray will be used to keep the ground dry. Also keeping in mind that it is humid there, I think definitely bowlers can reverse swing the ball."
Intikhab also felt that Australia's one-day squad would definitely be strengthened with the return of all-rounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson.
"Both of them are quality match-winners and they have won many matches for their team in the past. So their comeback does give more options to Australia in all three departments of the game," Intikhab said.
He also felt that spinners would play an important role in the series and Pakistan will have edge because of variety in their spin department.
"That is why we have picked a specialist off break bowler Saeed Ajmal in the squad."
The Pakistan team will wind up its conditioning camp on Sunday and leave for Dubai on Monday.