Cricket: Shoaib's action is defended by Imran

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The Independent Online
IMRAN KHAN, the former Pakistan captain, has dismissed reports suggesting that the pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar has a suspect bowling action.

"It is ridiculous and generated by those who fear Shoaib. He has a clear and genuine action," Imran said. Media reports from India and Sri Lanka questioned Shoaib's bowling action and said it could be "illegal".

"Shoaib caused havoc in India with his pace and bowled too well against Sri Lanka in the limited-over games and that is why they are raising questions," Imran said.

Shoaib, regarded as the fastest bowler in the world, took eight wickets in the opening game of the triangular Asian Test Championship in Calcutta, including the wickets of the Indian players Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

Organisers of next week's World Cup match between the West Indies and Bangladesh have dismissed reports that the fixture was under threat. "As far as we're concerned the match is going ahead," the Irish Cricket Union under-secretary, John Wright, said. There were claims earlier this week that the match, scheduled for 21 May, faced cancellation because a strike by Irish scafolders would prevent construction of temporary seating at the venue.

"There are no foundations to these rumours," Wright said, adding the 3,500 seats being installed at Clontarf Cricket Club in north Dublin did not require scaffolding.

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