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Last Updated: Friday, 1 August, 2003, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Shoaib set for Pakistan return
Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib in action for Durham
Pakistan have asked Durham to release fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar early from his contract so he can play in this month's Test series against Bangladesh.

Shoaib was originally excused from the home series but an ankle injury to Mohammad Sami has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to act.

He had signed a contract with Durham until the end of the county season but will now need to return to Pakistan by 17 August.

His last game will be a Championship match against Glamorgan, starting 13 August.

Shoaib has made a big impact on and off the field at Durham
Durham spokesman

A PCB spokesman said: "Due to the injury to Sami the selectors now want Shoaib for the series."

A Durham spokesman said the county had no option but to let Shoaib go.

The spokesman told the BBC Sport website: "We will be disappointed to see Shoaib go because he has made a big impact on and off the field at Durham.

"There is no problem about us releasing him from his contract early and it looks as though the County match against Glamorgan will be his last."

Off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq has also been asked to get an early release from Surrey and be available for the Bangladesh series.

The first of three Tests starts in Karachi on 20 August.


DURHAM


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