x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Akhtar's career as good as over says Akram

The former Pakistan fast bowler says Shoiab Akhtar's international career with Pakistan is over after persistent injuries and controversies.

NEW DELHI // The troubled Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's career is as good as over, bowling great Wasim Akram said. "I don't think he has got a chance unless and until some miracles happen," the former Pakistan captain Akram told reporters at a private cricket function in the Indian capital. Injury-prone Akhtar was left out of the squad for the five-match one-day series in Sri Lanka starting this week as well as being a Champions Trophy hopeful, raising doubts about the future of the former spearhead.

"Even though it depends on the captain and selectors, I think Shoaib has fallen out with the selectors and the cricket board itself," Akram said. Akhtar, the quickest bowler in world cricket at one time, has taken 178 Test wickets and 223 ODI wickets but his career has been plagued by fitness issues, disciplinary problems and controversies. "This cricket board still supported him and he went to Abu Dhabi and played two of the five games (against Australia) before getting injured again. We all saw that," he said.

Akhtar, 33, was ordered by the Pakistan Cricket Board to explain himself after he said on a television interview that he had considered suing the PCB for releasing his medical report when he was ruled out of the squad in May for the World Twenty20. "I think Pakistan's bowling unit is doing well and they have to look ahead and think about the future," said Akram. "They have to back the youngsters who will do the job for them. I don't know where you can place Shoaib Akhtar in the current picture of Pakistan cricket."

* Reuters