ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib vows memorable India tour


akhterShoaib Akhtar vowed on Saturday to make the upcoming tour of India memorable after the paceman was recalled to the team for the crucial series against the arch-rivals.

“I promise that I will do my best and give my full effort on the tour of India to help my team win both the one-dayer and Test series,” Akhtar said in an interview.

The 32-year-old Shoaib was recalled on Friday for possibly his last tour of India after he served a ban of 13 international matches, punishment primarily for hitting a teammate with a bat last month.

Shoaib was also fined 3.4 million rupees after he struck fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif on the thigh after team practice in Johannesburg ahead of the inaugural World Twenty20 championship.

He was placed on probation for two years, which means he could be banned for life if he again breaches the players’ code of conduct.

The punishment meant he missed Pakistan’s Test series and four one-day matches against South Africa. He has been named in the squad for the fifth and final one-dayer against the Proteas here tomorrow.

Shoaib vowed that his career was back on track after the mistake which he described as something he would rather forget.

“What I did was silly and happened in a fit of anger,” he said.

“I apologised to Asif, to the team players and to all my countrymen and now I hope that my career will not suffer again.

“I have missed a lot of cricket due to injuries and other reasons, but now I want to focus on my game and do my best for the country,” said Shoaib who played his last Test in South Africa in January this year.

Despite the intense rivalry between the two teams, Shoaib said he is respected in India and is looking forward to the tour.

“This may be my last tour so I must do something special for the fans in India so that they remember me in a good way,” he said.

His only complete tour of India was in 1999 when, as a newcomer to the Pakistan team, he took eight wickets in the Asian Test championship match at Kolkata — including the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries.

“Those were the golden moments of my career and I still want to get Tendulkar and Dravid’s wickets because they are special players,” said Shoaib who missed Pakistan’s 2005 India tour due to injury.

His last tour to India ended in ignominy after he and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif were expelled after testing positive to the banned steroid nandrolone, two days before the start of the Champions Trophy.

Shoaib was banned for two years and Asif for one year before the bans were lifted on appeal.

Shoaib said both the one-day and Test series will be exciting.

“Since our pace attack is better than theirs I feel the balance is tilted towards Pakistan and if we bat well then we can return as winners.”

Pakistan leave for New Delhi on November 1 and will play the first of five One-day Internationals at Guwahati on November 5. It will be followed by three Tests in New Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore.

Source:Cricket News

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