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|January 2, 2000||
The Rediff Interview / Shoaib Akhtar
'I'm like a wild horse'
Following the chucking controversy, rediff.com caught up with Shoaib Akhtar, the man in the midst of the controversy. Relaxing in his room at the Sheraton Hotel in Perth, Shoaib sounded relaxed about the ICC ban on him. In a telephonic conversation with Faisal Shariff, the Rawalpindi Express claimed that he was confident of bouncing back with a bang.
Shoaib, you claim that you had your action checked. Who checked your action?
I had my action checked before and after the World Cup. I checked it myself; the spectators saw it as well as the other cricketers of the world saw it. No one had a problem with it.
Why has your board not put its foot down and insisted that you play after being checked again in Australia itself?
My board (PCB) has spoken to the ICC and they are reconsidering my case. I might play in the triangular series. I know that at the end of the day I am clean and am not a chucker. The ICC had earlier given me 2 weeks to rectify what they thought was a suspect action. I am supposed to leave for Adelaide tonight and will find out the final outcome. As far as I know I'm still here with the team and not going back home yet. I have been bowling to the guys in the nets.
How did you feel when you learnt about the ICC ruling?
Nothing at all. I am not bothered about it because I know that my action is clean. I know that there is nothing wrong with my action. If my action is suspect then there are lots of them out there like me, who have been playing international cricket for many years. I don't want to take names but there are so many of them. They say that some of my deliveries are suspect. The ones when I try to bowl faster. I bowl fast all the time.
How has the team reacted to this episode?
My team has stood with me and has supported me with all their hearts. Especially my manager and Wasimbhai have helped me a lot. I am not depressed at all with the ruling. My action is good.
Don't you think you are caught up in this frenzy to be the fastest and hit the 100-mile mark, which is probably the reason why your bowling suffers?
I have clocked 97 miles in the World Cup, as you know. Now pace is my weapon and it does count a lot. Now for someone who touches 97 miles an hour needs to definitely make the most of this weapon. And I will be the first to touch the 100-mile an hour target. You know I am like a wild horse who just needs to be let loose.
What then was the reason that you failed against the Aussies in the Test series?
I was injured. I had a shoulder problem and was not bowling at my best. If I had been fit then my figures and the result of the series would have been different.
Do you feel threatened now that people are suddenly talking about Brett Lee as the fastest bowler?
I am just watching him on TV. Yeah, he has good pace and I think he is a very exciting bowler. But the speed guns are there for all to see. I have touched 97 miles an hour and the speed guns have claimed that, not me. So why should I feel threatened? I am simply the best, better than all the rest. And I will prove that again.
Mail Faisal Shariff
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