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Pakistan is always first for me, says Shoaib

Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London:Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar, who announced his return to form with a match-winning haul in English County cricket, has expressed disappointment over reports that he would have to prove his "fitness and attitude" before he is picked for the upcoming Asia Cup tournament in Sri Lanka.

Reacting to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan comments in the media recently, Shoaib said, "I don't know what has prompted the PCB chief to say this. I am very much available for the Asia Cup and have recovered well from my rib cage injury after two weeks of rest."

The controversial bowler, whose superb spell saw Durham register a comfortable win against Derbyshire, said he would send his latest medical reports to the PCB to reconfirm his availability for the Asia Cup tourney.

"I am sending my latest medical reports to the Board. But doctors have cleared me to resume playing and have advised me to continue taking treatment also. They have cleared me because they know I am fit to play after two weeks' rest," the 'Rawalpindi Express' was quoted as saying in The News.

The 28-year-old speedster said he could not fathom what could have prompted the PCB chief into making such comments as he felt he had sorted out everything with the Board.

"I thought I had cleared up things with the Board before I joined Durham and even after reaching England I have kept the Board informed about my fitness," Shoaib said.

"As far as my attitude is concerned, I know I have made mistakes but it is something that I had a clear discussion with the chairman about and have made myself very clear. Pakistan is always first for me. There is no question about that."

Meanwhile, chief selector Wasim Bari said he was awaiting a report on all those playing in County cricket in England.

"At present, our position is that we have asked the Board to let us know the fitness position of the players playing in England. We want to know who is fit and available to be considered for the Asia Cup," Bari said.

"It is only after we get this information that we can talk about other things and finalise our list of probables for the Asia Cup and other tournaments," he added.

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