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Malik questions Akhtar's future

January 22, 2009 10:29 IST

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik called on national selectors to blood new players on Wednesday and questioned the continued inclusion of experienced fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

Akhtar returned to Pakistan's one-day side on Tuesday after a 14 month absence but bowled just 13 overs in the first two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka and proved expensive.

The pacer, who has appeared in 46 Tests and 140 one-dayers, was given just six overs in Wednesday's 129-run defeat.

"We need a bowler who can bowl ten overs and also show commitment in the field for 50 overs," Malik said.

"And I think and like everyone saw there was a question mark over his (Akhtar's) fitness to bowl his full overs and also show commitment on the field for 50 overs," he added.

The Pakistan skipper raised a question mark over Akhtar's future when he agreed with a question that it was time for the selectors and management to stop relying on senior players who were not delivering for the team.

"We have lot of very good young bowlers in domestic cricket who are performing well and who deserve a chance," he added.

"I will definitely speak to the selectors and management we need to move on now."

He also made it clear that he did not think Akhtar was 100 per cent fit.

"I bowled him only for seven overs on Tuesday because I wanted him to be ready for today's crucial game but this didn't happen as planned."

Akhtar, 33, has also faced numerous disciplinary issues throughout his career and in 2007 was banned for 13 matches for a brawl with teammate, Mohammad Asif.

Last year he was banned for five years for indiscipline but had the term reduced to 18-months by an appellate tribunal. He has filed an appeal in the Lahore high Court against the ban which has been suspended by the court until a fresh hearing.

Malik said Akhtar was included after he performed well in domestic cricket but it was now obvious he still needed to work on his fitness.

"I think the only criteria for a place in the team should be performance," he said.

Source:
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