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Home > Cricket > Pakistan's tour of India 2007 > Report

Iqbal defends Akhtar's inclusion

Harish Kotian in Kolkata | November 30, 2007 22:13 IST
Last Updated: November 30, 2007 23:05 IST

Faisal Iqbal [Images], who was included in place of injured skipper Shoaib Malik [Images], rallied behind pacer Shoaib Akhtar [Images], saying his aggression was a plus point for Pakistan.

- Match Report | Images

"I think there was some fitness problem because he was not well for the last three-four days. But his recovery was amazing and the pace at which he bowled today and showed so much aggression, it was a plus point for Pakistan," Iqbal said in Kolkata on Friday.

However, it was quite a different tale out in the middle as Shoaib bowled just nine overs in the entire day. At one stage, he seemed to struggle with his fitness and bowled a few deliveries from a very short run up.

Pakistan's gamble of playing their premier fast bowler despite him not being fully fit clearly backfired as India amassed 352 for 3 on the opening day.

But Iqbal sought to defend Shoaib's inclusion saying: "I think in the morning the team management discussed his inclusion in the team and he was fit then; that is why he was played. All 11 players in the team are fit and are playing out in the middle."

Iqbal, nephew of former Pakistan great Javed Miandad, also praised Wasim Jaffer's sizzling knock that saw him score vintage 192 not out, which included 32 boundaries.

"Jaffer played really well. It was a tremendous innings to watch," Iqbal said.

The 25-year-old, playing in his 20th Test, described how tough it was just watching the Indian batsmen plunder runs with so much ease.

"It was tough to field the whole day. Our bowlers tried our best and fielders did well to support them but this is how Test cricket goes sometimes."

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