Chief selector says Shoaib's absence could fire up fellow bowler
by AFP

Player:Wasim Bari, Shoaib Akhtar, Rameez Raja, Mohammad Sami
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 2nd March 2005


Pakistan's chief cricket selector said he hoped the absence of paceman Shoaib Akhtar could inspire fellow bowler Mohammad Sami to spring a surprise on the team's first tour of India for six years.


"Because Akhtar is the fastest bowler in the world he will be missed and every player needs to give 25 percent extra to overcome his loss," Wasim Bari told AFP on Wednesday.


Akhtar pulled out of the Test series due to a hamstring injury but is aiming to make a possible return for the one-day series.


"One hopes that with the responsibility, the best in Sami will come out," Bari added.


Bari, a renowned wicket-keeper who played 81 Tests and 51 one-day games between 1967-1984, said Pakistan could still come away from the tour with a result.


"They can spring a surprise in India," he said. "I think we have a talented side. Obviously they made some mistakes on their last tour of Australia, but they must capitalise on the lessons they learnt."


Pakistan lost all three Tests and a tri-nation one-day tournament on their tour of Australia which ended early February.


Bari described the Indian tour as a turning point for Pakistan. "Good results will pave the way for the young team to get on the right path and attain more maturity," he said.


Pakistan arrived in India on Monday to play three Tests and six one-day internationals. The tour opens with a three-day side game at the Indian hill resort of Dharamsala from Thursday.


Rameez Raja, a former Pakistan captain and ex-chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said the side could upset India if they come out with all guns blazing.


"If Pakistan want to achieve good results they must adopt an aggressive strategy. They must score quickly and score big before the spinners come on," he told AFP.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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