Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~Sober~~ Shoaib promises to deliver his best

Published: Saturday, October 19, 2002, 0:08 [IST]
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Karachi:An impending series against archrivals India seems to have sobered down Pakistan's bowling spearhead Shoaib Akhtar who says he has become "more responsible" now considering the weight of expectations from his country.

Shoaib's resolve stems from the urge to do well against a side that picked him for special thrashing at the World Cup last year.

"I want to be the best against the best, that has been my endeavour since I started my career. So I am gearing up," the Rawalpindi Express said as India and Pakistan go into a series of five One-day matches starting Saturday.

Pakistan looks up to the 27-year old tearaway bowler to put aside his wild ways and pull off wins against India not only in the One-dayers but in the three Test matches as well.

"I know there are a lot of expectations but I am more responsible than before and would not run away from my responsibility of being the spearhead. I would give my best," said Shoaib.

With Wasim Akram, who retired last year and Waqar Younis, although adamant he would play again, not being considered for the series, Shoaib will lead the Pakistan bowling attack.

Shoaib helped Pakistan win the Lahore Test against South Africa last year but was suspended for the next Test after he was charged of abusing South African tail-ender Paul Adams. Pakistan had to fight hard to avoid defeat in the second Test at Faislabad.

The bowler with the flying mane then took eleven wickets to turn the Test on its head against New Zealand at Wellington in January.

Shoaib does not seem to have forgotten the lesson he learnt in the World Cup as he downplayed any one-to-one rivalry with Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar.

"Cricket is a team game. Indians now have more Tendulkars than one and we have to get five Tendulkars out to win matches, but we are up to it. It is even wrong to bill this series as a contest between our bowlers and their batsmen. We also need to score to win matches," said the bowler who is often in news for his on-field antics as well as off it.

Shoaib also says he is confident of good support from fellow speedsters Mohammad Sami and Shabbir Ahmed.

"I know I am the spearhead and team looks at me to take wickets but I am not the only one, Mohammad Sami and Shabbir are also bowling very well," he said.

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