Pakistan skipper fit to bowl
Shoaib Malik has confirmed he is fit to bowl during Pakistan's Asia Cup campaign.
Last Updated: 23/06/08 1:30pm
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has confirmed he is fit to bowl during the Asia Cup.
The all-rounder has been suffering from a sore shoulder but was criticised by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf for not bowling his off-spin during the recent triangular series in Bangladesh.
Pakistan named uncapped spinner Saeed Ajmal in their 15-man squad on Sunday, leading to further doubts over whether Shoaib would bowl in the tournament.
"I will bowl," he confirmed. "I intend to use myself as an all-rounder."
Shoaib feels his team have a slight edge as hosts of the six-team tournament, but does not believe it will be significant enough to make them clear favourites.
"We would have a slight edge as we would be playing at home," he added.
"But then, conditions are pretty similar everywhere in the subcontinent, although they are better here than what we experienced in Bangladesh.
"There is a lot of expectation from people and that puts extra pressure on us.
"But we are professional and can handle it."
Pakistan have also selected Shahid Afridi, who had been considered a doubt because of wrist injury, but fast bowler Sohail Khan was not considered after he contracted malaria.
His unavailability leaves Pakistan with only four fast bowlers in the squad - Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Iftikhar Rao and the inexperienced Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan begin their campaign on Tuesday against Hong Kong, before taking on India in their second Group B fixture two days later.
Group A contains Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates with the two top teams from each group qualifying for the super four stage in Karachi from June 28. The final will also be contested in Karachi on July 6.