Karachi, Nov 22 : Temperamental Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is looking for a successful Test return, has received a shot in the arm in the form new chief selector Abdul Qadir.
Given Shoaib's past track record - his habit of flirting with controversy and a knack for picking up injuries - Qadir still says Shoaib is a big asset for Pakistan cricket.
"Shoaib Akhtar is an asset. He is a wicket-taking bowler, who still has a lot to offer to Pakistan cricket," The News quoted Qadir, as saying.
Qadir is not the only Shoaib supporter in the new national cricket set-up.
Coach Intikhab Alam, who took over from former Australia Test pacer Geoff Lawson last month, also believes the 'Rawalpindi Express' is yet to run out of steam and can play international cricket for a couple of more years.
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has expressed similar views about Shoaib who has only played 46 Tests in a career spanning over 11 years as he mostly sits out either due to injury or suspension.
On Thursday, former PCB chief Lt General (retired) Tauqir Zia described Shoaib as a bowler whose international career was finished. He advised the Board to say goodbye to Shoaib by giving him one last farewell match.
However, Butt defended Shoaib by saying that he still has faith in the player.
Shoaib has been in controversy ever since he made his international debut in 1997. He was labelled as a chucker, a bad boy and even tested positive for banned steroid nandrolone in 2006.
The PCB banned him for five years this April over several breaches of discipline, the most serious one being the incident when Shoaib hit fellow pacer Mohammad Asif after a training session just before the start of the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa last September.