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Don't make me the scapegoat: Shoaib

"I'm not responsible for the team's poor show in Australia," Akhtar said after returning home.
PTI | By Reuters, Karachi
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2005 02:58 PM IST

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has appealed to his country's cricket authorities not to make him a scapegoat for the team's poor performances in Australia.

The injured Shoaib said he was disappointed with his fitness but not his form in the 3-0 Test series whitewash Pakistan suffered at the hands of the world champions.

"I think the bowling did well in the first two Tests. But I lacked support from the other end. I am not solely responsible for the poor performances since cricket is a team game," he said on Saturday after returning home.

Shoaib took 11 wickets in the first two Tests but none in the third when, struggling with a hamstring injury, he bowled just 15 overs. He was called back from Australia to try to get fit for the tour of India.

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan has said he will have a "hard talk" with Shoaib after local media splashed pictures and stories of the fast bowler partying late at night during the Sydney Test.

The 29-year-old faced a medical inquiry by the board last year after Pakistan lost the home series to India and was accused of faking a injury in the third Test in Rawalpindi, though he was subsequently cleared by a medical inquiry.

"I played in Sydney half fit because the team needed me," Shoaib said. "But tell me which fast bowler does not have fitness problems. Every fast bowler has gone through injury problems in the past even the great ones.

"I think I bowled well in the first two tests. The bowling didn't let the team down. Twice in the series we had them on the ropes. But the batting didn't come off," he said.

Pakistan were crushed inside four days in all three Tests.

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