Imran wants Shoaib Akhtar back in Pakistan team

Updated: 24 March 2011 17:39 IST

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan wants to see fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar restored to the Pakistan team if it plays India in the World Cup semifinals.

Dhaka:

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan wants to see fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar restored to the Pakistan team if it plays India in the World Cup semifinals.

Akhtar hasn't played since the defeat by New Zealand midway through the group stage and has since announced he will end his 14-year international career following the tournament.

"If Pakistan plays its semifinal against India, I think Shoaib Akhtar should get a chance and share the new ball with Umar Gul," Khan was quoted as saying in Thursday's edition of Urdu language newspaper Daily Express.

Pakistan has won all of its games since Akhtar was dropped, culminating in Wednesday's 10-wicket victory over West Indies in the quarterfinal.

Akhtar has taken 247 wickets in 163 limited-overs internationals but he has been plagued by fitness problems throughout his career. He has spent the last two years struggling to recover from knee surgery.

He took two wickets in Pakistan's group win over Sri Lanka, but his last over against New Zealand went for 28 runs when Ross Taylor hit the paceman for three sixes and two fours.

Akhtar has targeted a career haul of 250 wickets, but he maintains that he is not unhappy to have been left out of the team.

"It will be dream to reach that landmark, but if I don't get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup," Akhtar was quoted as saying.

"Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important than reaching personal goals. For me, nation comes first. That's the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision."

Topics : Cricket New Zealand Pakistan Shoaib Akhtar ICC World Cup, 2011
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