New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam has denied reports that pacer Shoaib Akhtar was not fully motivated for Wednesday’s Cricket World Cup semifinal against arch rivals India in Mohali and said the “Rawalpindi Express” has immersed himself in practice.
“Shoaib has been fully involved in match practice, and is available for selection. He’s very much part of the squad and there is no question about his motivation or enthusiasm to play in this important game. Akhtar is ready for the semi final,” the London-based pakpassion.net quoted Alam as saying.
Intikhab also dismissed as “false” reports that Akhtar’s focus has veered away from cricket after he announced his retirement from international cricket last week.
“The rumours about Shoaib no longer focussing on cricket after announcing his retirement are false,” he said.
Alam claimed Akhtar was training hard with the team through the tournament and “it’s been no different since he announced his retirement”. “He has not missed any sessions”.
Alam, however, conceded that the fast bowler was not fully fit at any point during the World Cup.
“I wouldn’t say Shoaib is 100 percent match fit. He’s been carrying a knee problem and has been in pain during the tournament, but, to his credit, has still managed to play some matches,” the site quoted Alam as saying.