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Waqar to replace suspended Akhtar

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    Waqar to replace suspended Akhtar

    Waqar Younis was named on Friday to replace suspended fellow Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is to return home from the team's tour of Australia after his action was ruled illegal.

    A nine-man International Cricket Council (ICC) panel ruled against Akhtar's bowling action after discussing it during a teleconference on Thursday.

    Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Tauqeer Zia told Reuters from Islamabad that Waqar would fly to Perth on Saturday to prepare for the triangular limited overs series against Australia and India from January 9-February 6.

    ``Younis has been picked because of his vast experience in one-day cricket,'' Zia said.

    Waqar, who has 284 wickets from 173 one-dayers, was dropped after the team's recent test tour of Australia where Pakistan lost the three-test series 3-0.

    Waqar faced suspension after he accused his long-time new-ball partner and now captain Wasim Akram of victimising him and settling personal scores.

    But Zia said the paceman would not face any penalties after he submitted an unconditional apology.

    Waqar said he wanted to prove he could still play top-class cricket but said he was sad for Akhtar.

    ``It's a pleasant new millennium surprise though I am sad that it came at the cost of Shoaib Akhtar,'' he said.

    Former captain and Pakistan coach Javed Miandad said Akhtar's bowling action was text book. ``The ICC has given its ruling, but I would still maintain that he has a legitimate bowling action.''

    Zia said Pakistan accepted the ICC decision ``but it's not necessary that we agreed with it, which we don't in this particular case.''

    Former test off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed said Akhtar's suspension now was troubling.

    ``How can the ICC suspend Shoaib now after its own match referees during the World Cup (in England last May and June) cleared him,'' he said.

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