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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar

DHAKA: Pakistan's fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who desires to reach the 250-wicket landmark in ODI before retiring from international cricket at the end of the ICC World Cup 2011, has said that he cannot do much if he does not get picked for remaining tournament matches, but is content that he still remains the fastest bowler in the mega event.

Akhtar needs three more wickets to reach the 250-mark in one-day internationals, but more than reaching that personal milestone, he wants one more chance to bow out in a blaze of glory.

But he seems to have lost favour with the team management, including skipper Shahid Afridi, after conceding 28 runs in a single over in the World Cup league match against New Zealand on March 8.

"I wanted to make way for the juniors, so even if I don't get my 250th wicket it is fine. It will be dream to reach that landmark, but if I don't get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup," The News quoted Akhtar, as saying.

He said he will accept the team management's decision if it opts not to give him any more role in Pakistan's World Cup campaign.

"Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important that reaching personal goals. For me, nation comes first. That's the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision," he maintained.

"There will be no sadness if I don't play. I have had my time and it was my determination to play this World Cup, which I have done. I was good enough to play for Pakistan again," he added.

The Rawalpindi Express, who has decided to end his international cricket career after the ongoing World Cup, expressed his desire to be born as a cricketer again.

"I want to be born as a cricketer again. I am a true Pakistani who is honest and with a clear conscience. Even if I have pain in my bones, I will love to bowl fast once again," he said.

According to team officials, although Akhtar has been sidelined since his poor performance against New Zealand, he remains upbeat in spite of the snub from the team management.

"He (Shoaib) is behaving really well. He knows that our aim is to win the World Cup and that he doesn't have a role in the current combination. He is very supportive and is giving the youngsters his advise and guidance," said a team official.

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