ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib Akhtar optimistic about Champions Trophy



Pakistan’s pace ace Shoaib Akhtar on Monday played down his latest knee problem saying that he would be fully ready for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in India.

Shoaib missed the final one-dayer against England here at Edgbaston on Sunday because of a bruise under his knee but said that the problem, though painful, was of a minor nature.

“I am really sorry for opting out of the final match but it was something that just happens. I was eager to play at Edgbaston but my knee was very sore as there is a massive bruise on it. I got it while plating at Lord’s and it had been troubling me since then,” said Shoaib, who took four wickets in Pakistan’s emphatic triumph in the second one-dayer at Lord’s on September.

But Shoaib said that the good news for him is that the injury is not of a serious nature and he should be fully fit in a few days. The speedster, who returned to international cricket after remaining out of action for over six months because of knee and ankle problems, is to spearhead Pakistan’s pace attack in the Champions Trophy to be played during October November.

He took nine wickets in four one-dayers against England but appeared disappointed at the fact that Pakistan were unable to win the series in spite of making a great start. “I think we would have taken the series but our opening match was washed out at a time when we were in a good position to win it,” said Shoaib referring to the first one-dayer at Cardiff which was abandoned because of inclement weather.

“We should have won the series but credit to England. They bowled well and put the ball in the right areas. We are still on the right track for the ICC Champions Trophy and are still a good one-day side,” Shoaib was quoted as saying by bigstarcricket.com.

He felt fatigue was the biggest reason behind Pakistanís unimpressive showing in the last two one-dayers. “I think the main problem for the boys in that final game, maybe the last two games that we lost, was tiredness. I haven’t been on the tour all through so I am not in bad shape as far as that goes but for the boys who have been here in England all through, it’s been a very long tour for them and it started to get to them mentally and physically, I think. You could see the guys were fatigued and didn’t have the same energy as in the first couple of matches.”

He added: “Everybody is mentally tired, there has been a lot of cricket and some controversy along the way and it takes its toll eventually. However, we should still have won the one-day series and if it hadn’t have rained in Cardiff I’m sure we would have won it.” On the issue of England captaincy that is raging within the British cricket circles, Shoaib said he favoured Andrew Strauss over Andrew Flintoff.

Source:The News

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