My career is still not over, says Akram

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan's ace pace bowler Wasim Akram said on Thursday his career was not over and dismissed calls for his ouster from the team due to poor form."My career is not over. I accept cricketing criticism but the calls to oust me from the team are unwarranted and make me disappointed," Akram told AFP. Akram was ruled out of the third and final Test against England, which got underway in Karachi Thursday after he suffered a back spasm."It's tragic that I fell unfit otherwise I was determined to prove my ability on the field and silence my critics," Akram, 34, said. "Let me assure everyone that I still have the oomph and the will to serve my country.

Once I feel I am not up to the mark I will quit but not now when I feel I have enough cricket left in me."Akram boasts 400 wickets in Tests and one-day internationals, but fared poorly in the first two Tests against England, taking only two wickets. The teams played two draws on flat, dead tracks, with England's pacemen struggling as well."I know two wickets are less than what is expected of me but the wickets in the series were made for the spinners and not for fast bowlers." Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia had warned Akram ahead of the final Test to either ship up or ship out."Do they think I am not concerned that I'm not helping my team win on home grounds? But it's not in my hands.

Whenever I go in the field I give 100 per cent - success and failure are in the Almighty's hands," Akram said."Some former players said two years back that I was finished but I performed in the West Indies and Sri Lanka very recently." Akram took 11 wickets in the St John's Test in Antigua in May and nearly won Pakistan their first ever series against the West Indies. He then sparkled with bat and ball to help Pakistan win an away series against Sri Lanka in July. "I don't know why people forget this so early and make unnecessary comments," Akram said.

"I have no enemies and have served the country well and hopefully I will get a fair deal."Akram was fined Rs 300,000 ($ 5,000) following Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyam's match-fixing report in May."I have come out of every difficult situation and I am a fighter. Come what may I will play and keep performing," he said. "There is a lot of time left before Pakistan's next series and if I keep my fitness and get selected I will play in New Zealand and England."Pakistan play New Zealand in a three-match series from February before going to England for a two-test mini-series beginning in May.

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