Minutes after landing in the country, controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he was looking forward to a fruitful stint in the Indian Premier League and thanked Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan for his support.
"I am happy to be in India. I am looking forward to play in the IPL and play my role for my team," said Akhtar, who landed at around 4:00 pm at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Lahore and was mobbed by reporters and shutterbugs to cause a melee of sorts.
"I am grateful to the people of India for embracing me, especially (team owner) Shah Rukh Khan who supported me. Eden Gardens is like my home ground. I am looking ahead to be there soon," added Akhtar.
The speedster is free to play for Shah Rukh-owned Kolkata after the Pakistan Cricket Board temporarily suspended his five-year ban.
Akhtar, who leaves for Kolkata by an Indian domestic flight in the evening, admitted he would have to train hard and acclimatise with the conditions though he had visited the country late last year.
"I have not played cricket for four months. I have to acclimatise with the conditions and train hard. I want to do my bit for my team," he said.
While refusing to talk about his appeal pending before an Appeallate Tribunal in Pakistan.
"I don't want to talk about the case, it is pending before a tribunal," he said.