Akhtar happy to be on sidelines after losing favour

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 15:24 PM IST

New Delhi: Even as the news of Shoaib Akhtar not playing any further role in Pakistan`s bid to win the World Cup for the second time gains momentum, the fast bowler says he doesn`t mind spending time on the sidelines.

The 35-year-old speedster on Thursday decided to hang his boots at the end of the showpiece event, a move apparently prompted by his 28-run over in a league match against New Zealand.

Akhtar was not considered for the match against Australia on Saturday but as the side`s senior statesman, he was quite busy on the sidelines.

According to sources the temperamental bowler had a heated argument with Kamran Akmal over the two dropped catches after their humiliating defeat to New Zealand, leading to a tense atmosphere in the dressing room.

Akhtar, however, seems to be have this in his stride. "I wanted to make way for the juniors, so even if I don`t get my 250th wicket it is fine. It will be dream to reach that landmark, but if I don`t get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup."

"Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important that reaching personal goals. For me, nation comes first. That`s the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision," Akhtar told a website.

The cricketer said he will be ready in case the team needed him. "There will be no sadness if I don`t play. I have had my time and it was my determination to play this World Cup, which I have done. I was good enough to play for Pakistan again."

Akhtar, whose career has been marked with controversies, said, "I want to be born a cricketer again. I am a true Pakistani who is honest and with a clear conscience. Even if I have pain in my bones, I will love to bowl fast once again."

PTI