Shoaib - Australia weaker
Fit-again Shoaib Akhtar insists Pakistan now has its best chance of beating Australia in years.
Last Updated: 25/03/09 3:04pm
Fit-again Shoaib Akhtar insists Pakistan has its best chance of beating Australia in years during the forthcoming limited overs series between the teams.
The 33-year-old paceman is back on the comeback trail following a knee injury that forced him out of Pakistan's two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
Renowned for his forthright personality, Shoaib has pulled no punches talking about the nation's future foes, insisting the world champions are now fallible.
"Australia are now much easier to beat than before and if we play our best we can beat them in the series," Akhtar said.
"They are still the world's top team, which they proved by avenging their defeat against South Africa.
"But they still miss the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne who were top class players. If even one of them came to the party, it spelt doom for the rival team.
"Australia now doesn't have as many quality players as in the past. They were beaten by South Africa in the one-day series in Australia and judging by their strength in one-dayers I think we can beat them."
Shoaib has featured in two domestic matches of late, meanwhile, and he hopes to force his way back to the front of the selectors' thoughts.
"I have been working very hard and gearing up to play against Australia," he added. "I will play more domestic matches so that I can prove my fitness to the selectors and the rest is with them.
"I am feeling better and have bowled 20 overs in the two matches. So I will be up to my full fitness and rhythm when we play Australia."
Pakistan are scheduled to play Australia in five one-dayers and a Twenty20 match in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from April 22 to May 7.