Ads 468x60px

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pakistan star Shoaib Akhtar eyes 'dream' win over India

Shoaib Akhtar feels it is critical that Pakistan beat India in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final to help draw a line under a difficult couple of years.
Pakistan have endured a series of setbacks since the attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore in 2009.
And the veteran paceman told BBC Sport: "Pakistan need victory more than any other nation right at this moment.
"We have been through so much but we are united. We want to achieve our dream."
Aside from the national team's triumph at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, Pakistan cricket has been blighted by controversy in recent times.
The country was suspended from hosting international cricket following the Sri Lanka incident and then stripped of its share of World Cup matches.
Things went from bad to worse in a disastrous 2010 in which spot-fixing allegations surfaced during the tour to England.
But they have defied expectations to reach the last four and now face neighbours India in Mohali for a place in Saturday's World Cup final.
Having played all six group matches in Sri Lanka and their quarter-final in Bangladesh, this will be Pakistan's first one-day international on Indian soil since November 2007.
"It's a very important game for us to win and obviously we're uite geared up after what we've been through over the last year or so," said 35-year-old Shoaib, who will retire from international cricket after the tournament.
"Pakistan cricket has been cornered for right or for wrong reasons. The Sri Lankan attacks and cricket being taken away from us, the World Cup going out of the country and then the fixing scandal.
"People have given up on us. They thought this was the end of Pakistan cricket and that we would never survive. We were quite demoralised by their behaviour. We've been neglected, we've been avoided by people. The whole team was down."
Pakistan opened their campaign with a 205-run victory over Kenya before seeing off Sri Lanka, Canada, Zimbabwe and Australia to finish top of Group A.
A 10-wicket thrashing of West Indies, allied to India's five-wicket win against Australia, set up Wednesday's eagerly anticipated encounter at the 28,000-capacity Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
"We are after glory, we are after the dreams that we have seen together as a team and we want to achieve this," stated Shoaib, omitted for the wins over Zimbabwe, Australia and West Indies after going for 70 runs in the defeat by New Zealand.
We've seen this dream together, we want to achieve this glory and we want to make this come true. We will give everything, we're not going to hold back. It's not about stupid aggression, it's about the glory we are after - we want to go to Bombay [Mumbai, for the final]."I don't understand people who say the Pakistan team is not united -this is the strongest team I have ever seen since I played my first Test match [against West Indies in 1997].
"People thought we would not even make it to India let alone the final. They said we would lose against Australia or Sri Lanka, that we were going through absolute turmoil. No-one even bothered getting a visa for us.
"But yet again this controversy has united us, given us motivation and the opportunity to gather, get our heads together and rethink. Keep criticising us, keep building up the pressure - it motivates us more and more."
Relations between the nuclear-armed rivals are still tense afterPakistan-based militants targeted Mumbai in 2008.
"It's probably a blessing in disguise that we're here to play this match - so many things will be gained," Shoaib explained. "It is a breakthrough for Pakistan and India for dialogue, which was at deadlock for the last six or seven months. Now there is a chance it can be broken.
"It was a very kind gesture from Manmohan and it's very gracious of our prime minister to accept that offer. It's such a win-win situation for both countries."
The match could be Shoaib's last in international cricket and he added: "This is my last tournament and I want to be remembered as someone who won this semi-final and then the final.
"Winning this match and performing well against India, people will remember you all their lifetime and you will be talked about for many centuries.
"I want to be remembered, I want to do well and I want to give every ounce of what I have left in my body to go out there, provide and deliver."
Shoaib has taken 41 wickets in 28 one-day matches against India at an average of 26.78 and is three wickets short of the 250 mark overall.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...