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Pakistan confident of playing Akhtar

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    Pakistan confident of playing Akhtar

    Pakistan cricket officials are confident fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will play in a forthcoming limited overs series in Australia despite his action being questioned.

    His action was questioned by New Zealand match referee John Reid during Pakistan's recent three- test series in Australia, which the touring side lost 3-0.

    "We are absolutely sure that Shoaib Akhtar will be in action," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Tauqeer Zia told Reuters from Islamabad on Tuesday.

    Pakistan's squad was set to leave on Wednesday, a day before a nine-man International Cricket Council (ICC) advisory panel on illegal deliveries was to hold a telephone conference call to discuss Akhtar's bowling action.

    Zia said he did not expect an ICC decision on Akhtar's action until after the tri-nation series, which also features Australia and India, and is being played between January 9 and February 6.

    Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam said from Lahore that Akhtar had a perfect bowling action.

    "He has been cleared by the PCB panel and I am confident that he will earn the ICC's nod as well," Intikhab said.

    Reid has expressed concern about the straightening of Akhtar's arm immediately before a particularly fast delivery or a bouncer.

    Zia also said he did not feel increased political tension between India and Pakistan would affect his team.

    "The players are professionals and this issue should not divert their attention from their assignment," he said.

    Pakistan has denied India allegations that it is involved in the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane which is now parked at Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan with 155 hostages aboard.