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Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 08:59 GMT
Umpire backs Shoaib action
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib: Porblems with the media and injury
New Zealand umpires' chief Brian Aldridge has urged the media to stop querying the bowling action of Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar.

The tourists have been frustrated by comments about the 25-year-old 'Rawalpindi Express' on TV, radio and newspapers since their arrival.

Let's enjoy him this summer. He's the Jonah Lomu of cricket
  Brian Aldridge

But Aldridge said the umpires and match referee for the first one-day international in Auckland, where Shoaib took five for 19 in Pakistan's six-wicket win, had not made any comment about his action.

Shoaib was banned after being reported following a Test match in Australia last year, but his action was subsequently given the all-clear by the International Cricket Council.

"I was in Auckland for the game and I spoke to the umpires afterwards. I didn't talk to them about Akhtar," Aldridge told Wellington newspaper The Dominion.

"I have confidence in them to report anything untoward and believe it is important not to put umpires under extra pressure by saying anything that may suggest a bowler's action is being pre-judged."

Shoaib, meanwhile, is desperate to play in the third one-day international despite suffering fresh injury problems in Napier on Tuesday.

He bowled just nine balls before limping off with a twinge in his left thigh. New Zealand levelled the series with a six-wicket win after bowling Pakistan out for just 135.

The injury, initially diagnosed as a pulled hamstring, has proved less serious than first feared and he insists he is ready to play in Thursday's day-night match in Wellington.

Wear and tear

"I decided to come off because I didn't want to risk more serious trouble.

"I feel great, and the medical people agree with me, so I'll be there," he said.

Team physio Dr Tauseef Razzaq has treated Shoaib for a series of injuries over the past 10 months, including a damaged shoulder, strained knee ligaments and a fractured rib.

"It was general wear and tear from bowling flat out during the tour of Australia last year. He gives 100 per cent and puts his body through some terrific strain," he said.

Razzaq also defended the legality of Shoaib's bowling action.

"Since we've been here all we have heard from the television, radio and in the newspapers is that Shaoib is a chucker.

"He's been cleared by the ICC, so let him get on with it."

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See also:

20 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Shoaib hopes for rapid recovery
20 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Shoaib shock for Pakistan
18 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Kiwis crushed as Shoaib shines
13 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Pakistan's tour fixtures
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