Imran Khan wants Shoaib to play against India

DHAKA, March 24: Former Pakistan captain and legendary all-rounder Imran Khan wants to see fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar restored to the Pakistan team when they play India in the World Cup semi-final.

Shoaib hasn’t played since the defeat by New Zealand midway through the group stage and has since announced he will end his 14-year international career following the tournament.

“If Pakistan play their semi-final against India, I think Shoaib should get a chance and share the new ball with Umar Gul,” Imran said prior to the quarter-final on Thursday.

Pakistan won all their games since Shoaib was dropped. Shoaib has targeted a career haul of 250 ODI wickets, but he maintains that he is not unhappy to have been left out of the team.

“It will be dream to reach that landmark, but if I don’t get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup,” Shoaib was quoted as saying.

“Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important than reaching personal goals. For me, nation comes first. That’s the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision.”

Imran also emphasised that Pakistan team should improve fielding and wicket-keeping apart from putting their best batsmen upfront for better result in the semi-final.

“We are still lacking in fielding and dropped a few catches and Kamran Akmal missed a stumping against the West Indies,” Imran stated, underlining that such mistakes could prove fatal in the semi-final.

While urging the Pakistan team management to devise a strategy for the all-important semi-final, Imran praised the spin trio of Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez for their outstanding bowling which brought an easy win for Pakistan against the West Indies.

He reiterated that Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-haq should bat at number three and four spot