Akhtar sidelined

Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar may miss part of next month's tour against England after scans found with a hairline fracture in his ankle.

Shoaib has not played cricket since January, missing a one-day series against India with a knee injury that was later operated on in Australia.

His recovery from that injury was hampered by the problem with his ankle, but Pakistan captain Inzaman Ul-Haq is confident he will take some part in the series.

"Right now he has been advised one week's rest, as scans have shown a slight fracture in his ankle which is also swollen. However, the chance of him joining us late cannot be ruled out," Inzaman told Reuters.

"The reports about him are a bit uncomfortable for us. But he has done light training, so the fracture might not be a serious one.

"We will go by the doctor's report and advice. Obviously we see him as an important member of the team in England and would like to see him play the Tests."

With Shoaib underdone for match fitness, Inzaman said the star bowler would also need to play some practice matches before he joins the side in England.

"We will know about his fitness from how he bowls in these practice games," he said.

Pakistan will play four tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 match, with selectors to announce the squad next week.

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