Ex-players for Shoaib, but team management unlikely to budge
Karachi: Even as the clamour for Shoaib Akhtar`s inclusion in the Pakistan team for its high-voltage semi-final clash against India gains momentum, the team management seems hell bent on keeping the maverick pacer out of the playing XI.
Former Pakistan greats such as Imran khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif all believe it would be worth a risk playing Shoaib as his replacement, Wahab Riaz, has not played in India before nor is bowling well in the tournament.
However, if a well-placed source in the Pakistan team is to be believed, the team management including skipper Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis, are not in favour of Shoaib playing in Mohali on Wednesday, as they are irked by the maverick pacer`s behaviour after the defeat to New Zealand in the league phase.
"People don`t know the situation within the team. After that match, Shoaib had behaved very badly with Kamran Akmal and other players, and the situation would have badly got out of hand if the manager and coach had not intervened," the source said.
The source added that Shoaib made some "disparaging" remarks against Kamran after conceding 28 runs in a single over against the Kiwis, prompting the team management to drop him for the matches against Zimbabwe, Australia and West Indies.
"He was fined for his behavior and since than the truth is that he has also not trained with heart and appears to be content to prepare for his retirement now," the source said.
Shoaib had, a few days back, announced that he would retire from international cricket after the World Cup.
"The match against India is a big high-pressure game and the management does not feel that Shoaib is in the right mental or physical shape to face such a challenge, and it would be a safer option to bank on youngsters, Wahab, or even rookie Junaid Khan," the source said.
"Probably when PCB chief Ejaz Butt arrives in Mohali for the match, the management will have discussions with him on Shoaib`s future."
He also pointed out that the management would take a close look at the pitch before deciding on its attack.