Shoaib returns in one day drawSean Bennett |
Shoaib Akhtar returned to action for Pakistan in a drawn one day game against West Indies A. Akhtar took 1 for 59 in 11 overs as West Indies A scored 214-4 in their 40 overs. Pakistan replied with 123-3 in 22 before the rain and dark closed in.
Pakistan’s captain, Abdul Razzaq, won the toss and gave Shoaib a chance to return to the fray and prove his fitness immediately, electing to field. The mercurial fast bowler did not disappoint, bowling Devon Smith with the fifth ball of the day. However, Lendl Simmons and Runako Morton steadied the ship and put on 86 before left arm seamer Samiullah Khan bowled Morton, ending his innings of 44 in just 48 balls.
Twenty-four year old Samiullah, who has impressed in Pakistan’s domestic set up and will no doubt be pushing for a place in a Pakistan bowling attack lacking bite for the third Test, bowled captain Sylvester Joseph first ball, too. He also claimed his third wicket in the next man in, Jason Mohammed, without scoring when Mohammed edged to Kamran Akmal, to leave the West Indies A reeling at 90-5.
Despite Samiullah’s efforts and Shoaib managing 11 overs of his extreme pace, Simmons held stong and reached his century after finding an ally in aggressive allrounder, Dwayne Smith. Smith hit a pacey 55 as the pair saw the West Indians to 214 by the end of their 40.
In reply, Richard Kelly removed both openers, Taufeeq Umar and Mohammed Hafeez, for single figure to reduce Pakistan to 25-2. As the weather worsened, Imran Farhat and Slaman Butt counter attacked, both scoring at over a run a ball. But Dwayne Smith ended Butt’s cameo of 20 in 15 to leave Pakistan at 51-3. Farhat carried on regardless, making a 43 ball 62 before the weather forced a halt to the proceedings.
Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer refused to show his hand when asked about Shoaib’s chances of playing in the final Test, commenting “I wonder if it is necessary, just for the sake of winning a Test then why can’t others who are match fit and doing well not do that? Shoaib had a stress fracture and what he has to do is to play little bit of cricket, and the perfect scenario I see for him is to get fit for the five one day internationals, the ICC Trophy then the home series against the West Indies. That is really the sort of path I want for him.
“I don’t want to make this judgement before talking to him. If he bowls 15-20 overs by Sunday then I will ask him because he will be in a better position to tell. Today he looked trim and slim but he hasn’t bowled for six months.”
Pakistan and West Indies A meet again at Shenley tomorrow.
West Indies A 214-4
Lendl Simmons 108*, Dwayne Smith 55*
Samiullah Khan 3-30, Shoaib Afridi 1-59
Imran Farhat 62*, Faisal Iqbal 22*
Richard Kelly 2-27, Dwayne Smith 1-27