Karachi, Feb 25 (PTI) The captain and the coach may havequestioned his fitness but chief selector Mohsin Khan has nodoubt that Shoaib Akhtar is still a match winner, who can dowell for Pakistan in the ongoing cricket World Cup.
"I still have lot of faith in Shoaib. He has always beena match-winner under all conditions and I am confident he willmake an impact with his bowling in this World Cup as well,"Mohsin, former Test opener, said.Mohsin said the purpose of selecting Akhtar in the WorldCup squad, despite concerns over his fitness, was based on thetheory that there was a need a to have a genuine fast bowlerin the side in such a major tournament.
"The selectors closely observed the fitness andperformances of Shoaib in recent series and also monitored hisattitude and commitment through the team management and wefound that it would be okay to repose confidence in him forsuch a major tournament," Mohsin said.
The 35-year old pacer, who has taken 178 Test and 244 ODIwickets in the course of his international career that beganin 1997, bowled superbly in Pakistan''s World Cup openeragainst Kenya as he gave away just 10 runs in five overs.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younisexpressed concerns over his match fitness but Mohsin said theselectors wanted Akhtar in the side and now it was up to theteam management how they use him.
"We feel that despite his age, he is still very fast andbowls an intelligent line and length and we have seen a cleardetermination in him to make an impact in what is probably hislast World Cup," the chief selector said.
"Having him in the side will always give Pakistan an edgebecause opposing batsmen still respect him for his pace andintelligent bowling and he can always be used in short spellsto break partnerships," Mohsin added.
He said that in the past Shoaib faced problems because ofdisciplinary issues but now he is changed and determined to dosomething for the team which is a good sign for us.
"All fast bowlers have niggling injuries and unlesssomeone like him is facing a major fitness issue the selectorsfeel he is still good enough to do something for Pakistan inthe World Cup," he said.Pakistan play Sri Lanka in their second World Cup matchon Saturday in Colombo.