Pakistan reluctant to throw Shoaib into the fray

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The Independent Online

Shoaib Akhtar has made no secret of his desire to play in Thursday's fourth and final Test against England despite enduring a frustrating return to competitive action. But it seems likely that Pakistan will not take the risk with their prize bowler.

With England holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series it would seem folly to risk Shoaib, who has been out with a stress fracture of his ankle since January, but the 31-year-old is desperate to play at the Oval. "It's been very frustrating watching the guys and it's not nice watching from the sidelines," he said. "I'm pretty fit and I've worked hard for this summer."

The Pakistan coach, Bob Woolmer, is unlikely to take a chance on Shoaib, with the one-day series starting on 30 August a more likely date for a return.

Yesterday, the Worcestershire opener Stephen Moore sent the Twenty20 cup holders Leicestershire crashing to defeat in the NatWest Pro40 clash at Grace Road with a career best 105 not out.

The Foxes came crashing down to earth as the Royals successfully chased down a target of 201 to win by eight wickets.

Claire Taylor became the first Englishwoman to make a century at Lord's as she hit a career-best unbeaten 156 to lead England to a 100-run victory over India in the first one-day international.