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Ganguly bats for Shoaib
Harish Kotian in Kolkata | December 01, 2007 18:45 IST
"Yesterday he was unwell but today I thought he bowled quick. You have to give it to him. He's been in hospital for two days and wasn't very well but he stood up for the country and turned out to play," Ganguly said in Kolkata, after scoring a magnificent 102 that put India in command on the second day of the second Test.
The pacer was down with chest infection in the run-up to the second Test and didn't take part in practice after being hospitalised.
Pakistan's decision to play a half-fit Akhtar faced criticism from some quarters after he managed just nine overs on the opening day. He, however, showed great determination on the second day, bowling 15 testing overs without reward.
"He could have easily said I'm not playing, but that would have made the attack even weaker. He is Pakistan's best bowler," Ganguly added.
Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson also backed his premier fast bowler and said he showed great heart on a flat pitch.
"You have to understand that the guy was ill. We had a tough decision to make yesterday. We decided to go with Shoaib and he was keen to play.
"We got 24 overs out of him. Of course we would have liked him fully fit, but he bowled at a good pace in the 130s [kmph]," Lawson added.