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Shoaib Akhtar is finished, says former PCB chief Zia

Pakistan, Fri, 21 Nov 2008 IANS

Karachi, Nov 21 (IANS) Former Pakistan cricket chief Lt Gen (retd) Tauqir Zia believes Shoaib Akhtar's international career is over and has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to show the door to the controversial fast bowler by giving him one last farewell match.


Zia, who was accused of pampering Shoaib during his tenure as PCB chairman that ended in 2004, said the ageing bowler lacks proper fitness to play international cricket. He said it is time Shoaib retired from the Pakistan duty.



Shoaib, 33, missed all three matches of the One-day International series against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi because of fitness problems.



Known in the cricket world as the Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib has spent the best part of the last 12 months sitting out either due to injury or suspension. He last played for Pakistan in an ODI against India last November in Gwalior.



However, the current PCB chief Ijaz Butt insists Shoaib can still deliver the goods for Pakistan for a few more years.



When asked to comment on Zia's assessment of Shoaib, Butt said: 'I've all respect for Mr Tauqir Zia but I don't believe that Shoaib's career is over. I'm of the view that he (Shoaib) has almost regained full fitness and can still be an asset for Pakistan for quite some time.'



Butt, a former Pakistan Test opener, said Shoaib was fit for the third one-dayer against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi Nov 16 but the team management decided against including him in the line-up as it wanted the pacer to attain prime fitness ahead of the important home series against India early next year. Pakistan defeated the West Indies 3-0 in the series.


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