Half-fit Akhtar can lift Pakistan to glory: Alam

Karachi, Feb 16 (PTI) Pakistan team manager IntikhabAlam has his doubts over the fitness of speedster Shoib Akhtarbut believes that even a half-fit Akhtar would be a handfulfor opponents during the World Cup.

The former skipper, under whose guidance Pakistantriumphed in the 1992 World Cup, said, "Shoaib is not 100 percent fit, but even a half-fit Akhtar can lift Pakistan toglory."

The former leg-spinner, though, stressed that themercurial bowler needs to be utilised properly.

"He needs to be utilised carefully to get the best out ofhim. A lot could depend on the weather, heat, humidity as tohow Shoaib is utilised by the skipper," Alam said.

He added, "At the moment, in Bangladesh, the weather isvery nice, it''s not too warm, but we''ll have to see what theweather is like in Sri Lanka in the group stages."

Talking about Pakistan''s spin options in the quadrennialevent, Alam reiterated that despite having four spinners inthe side Pakistan would not fall into the trap of over-relyingon the slow bowlers.

"It''s all about the conditions that we encounter. We''lltake it match by match. In New Zealand Ajmal and Rehman didn''tget much of a look-in, but that was largely due to theconditions that we encountered.

"I expect that only two spinners will start in mostmatches. We are very fortunate that we have the versatileMohammad Hafeez who can open the batting, as well as bowl hisquota of overs, but I would say that Rehman and Afridi are thefirst choice spinners," the manager insisted.

Alam added that the competition among spinners augurswell for Pakistan cricket. "It''s good that there iscompetition in the side and nobody''s place is guaranteed inthe starting eleven," he said.

Pakistan, who are scheduled to play their group matchesin Sri Lanka, are currently in Bangladesh, the co-hosts of thetournament, for their warm-up ties. The former cricketerbeleived that adjusting to the conditions would notbe an issue.

"That''s the way it is, we have to accept that and I don''tthink it will make much difference in the long term," Alamexpressed.

Alam also laid significance to the practice matches andsaid, "Both matches are extremely important with regardsto the build-up and planning and we will be going all out towin them."

Pakistan yesterday beat Bangladesh by 89 runs in theirfirst warm-up game.

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