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Pakistan to push for early decision on Akhtar

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    Pakistan to push for early decision on Akhtar

    Pakistan are pushing to have an ICC inquiry into the suspect bowling action of paceman Shoaib Akhtar brought forward so he could play in next month's three-test series against Sri Lanka.

    Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Tauqir Zia told Reuters a request would be sent on Tuesday to the International Cricket Council (ICC) asking for a teleconference on Akhtar to take place before a scheduled meeting by an ICC advisory panel on February 9-10 in Singapore.

    ``We want to play Shoaib Akhtar in the tests against Sri Lanka which will not be possible if the (conference) is held on February 9 or 10. The PCB wants him to be cleared before that so he is mentally prepared to return to test cricket,'' Zia said.

    Sri Lanka arrive in Pakistan on February 5 and open their tour with a one-day international in Karachi on February 13.

    Akhtar was banned by the ICC for a suspect action on December 30, but the decision was reversed on January 8 by ICC president Jaghmohan Dalmiya.

    Akhtar was allowed to play limited overs cricket but his return to test matches was subject to clearance by the advisory panel in Singapore.

    Zia said the advisory panel would look at Akhtar's bowling action using fresh video footage to be prepared by Cammie Smith, match referee of the current tri-nation series in Australia.

    ``That video will not only capture Akhtar bowling bouncers but all six deliveries in an over. The previous footage showed Akhtar bowling just express fast deliveries or bouncers,'' he said.

    Zia said the PCB had also received encouraging feedback from the Western Australia Cricket University which is supervised by former Australian speedster Dennis Lillee.

    ``We have been told that there is nothing wrong with Akhtar's bowling action though he needs to improve his run-up to the wicket and body shape.''