Shoaib wants sporting strips for Sri Lanka series

December 22nd, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Dec 22 (IANS) Pakistan’s enigmatic pace star Shoaib Akhtar Monday urged the country’s cricket think-tank to vote for lively wickets for the hastily-arranged home cricket series against Sri Lanka likely to get underway in the third week of January.Shortly after leading Federal Areas Leopards in the final of the Pentangular Cup One-day Championship, Shoaib told reporters here at the National Stadium that he would love to see sporting pitches for the series against Sri Lanka.

“It would be great to have sporting wickets for the Sri Lanka series because that would be good for the cricketers and the fans,” he said.

Wickets in Pakistan are generally criticised by visiting teams as batting paradises, offering little to the bowlers, especially pacers. However, this time it is likely that the curators will be asked to deliver green wickets for the series against Sri Lanka as Pakistan is hoping to combat the tourists’ spinners with its pace arsenal spearheaded by the fit-again Shoaib.

Pakistan cricket officials have already said that they are wary of the threat posed by Sri Lanka’s world-class spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

Pakistan is preparing to host Sri Lanka for three Tests, three one-dayers and a Twenty20 game in Jan-Feb after India cancelled a tour of the country during the same period over last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

The 33-year-old Shoaib said that he will give his best against the Sri Lankans. “I’ve been working hard on my fitness and thankfully my form is also back,” he said.

“I will try my level best to give a good showing in the series.”

Shoaib predicted that the series against Sri Lanka will be a tough one.

“It is going to be very tough because Sri Lanka is a very strong team,” he said. The bowler said that he and fellow Pakistan team players have been getting good match practice by competing in the ongoing Pentangular Cup - the premier one-day event on the domestic calendar.

Shoaib bowled a maiden second-last over in the Leopards’ match against NWFP Panthers to help his team record an exciting one-run win which helped it enter Wednesday’s final.

“It was really very exciting,” said Shoaib, who is leading the Leopards.

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