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|I am not an angel, says Shoaib Akhtar|
Wednesday, January 28 2004 17:44 Hrs (IST)
The talented fast bowler, often in news for his exploits on-field and off it, asserted that it was only "collective teamwork" which could win matches for Pakistan in the all- important series pitting the arch-rivals in three Tests and five One-dayers.
"The series will be very important but it is not only me, the whole team will have to work very hard to tame our arch rivals," Shoaib was quoted as saying.
The world's fastest bowler, however, stressed that he was not running away from his responsibilities as a potential match-winner.
"I fully understand the significance of the home series against India in March-April and I am also aware of the huge expectations attached to me. It is a big challenge.
"I know that Almighty Allah has given me the ability to bowl fast but I am not an angel. Like many others, I can also bowl 10 overs in a One-day match. I assure the nation that I shall try my utmost to bring glory for Pakistan.
"To win against India in the field of cricket will be great, but it is the team that wins a match," Shoaib added.
Shoaib categorically denied reports that he was nurturing ambition to lead the national team and did not get along well with current skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, whom the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has given an extension till the end of this year.
"My support is for my captain whom I have known for the last seven years. I have a special relationship with Inzi. He is my brother and my captain," Shoaib said.
When pressed further, Shoaib said, "At the moment I am only concentrating on the Indian tour. However, if in the future any such offer is given to me I shall think over it."
Shoaib also denied that were any grouping in the team. "There is no grouping in the team. The boys are young and they are committed to their game."
The paceman was full of praise for Andy Atkinson, a foreign expert hired by PCB to prepare the wickets during the home series against South Africa and New Zealand.
"Yes, he is a good curator. I would like to play on dry but bouncy wickets in the coming series against India," Shoaib said.
The Rawalpindi Express also stressed that contrary to his image, he was a good team-man and often tried to help out his fellow bowlers.
"I am very generous. Whatever I have learned from Waqar (Younis) and Wasim (Akram), I try to pass on to my juniors. Now it is up to them that how they use it."
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