LAHORE // The controversial paceman Shoaib Akhtar said yesterday he considered suing the Pakistan Cricket Board officials for releasing a medical report over a condition that forced him to miss the World Twenty20. The PCB withdrew the injury prone fast bowler from last month's squad after announcing that he was suffering from "genital viral warts".
Medical reports of players are usually not made public. Pakistan went on to win the World Twenty20 with a new-look bowling attack. "I have a central contract with the PCB and that's why I kept quiet. I still have the right to sue the management," Akhtar said in a television interview. "Had I taken that course, it would have created some controversy and I didn't want the Pakistan team to suffer because my news is published all over the world."
Akhtar, 33, has been plagued with problems recently and has broken down as often as he has returned from a lay off. He was awarded a contract this year after being excluded in 2008 following Pakistan's 2007 tour of India where he suffered injuries. In April last year, he was banned for five years following an outburst against the PCB over being axed from his central contract. An appeal committee reduced the ban to 18 months.
Akhtar returned for a three- nation Twenty20 event in Canada in October but failed to impress in the four matches he played. A month later, he was selected for the one-day series against the West Indies in the UAE but was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Akhtar under-performed in the two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka in February this year, and again in the series against Australia in April-May in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
But the bowler, nicknamed Rawalpindi Express, vowed there was still a lot of cricket left in him. "I can still play for four to five years," said Akhtar. "If I am selected I am fit to play in Sri Lanka," he said referring to the one-day series later this month. "I am the fastest bowler in history of cricket. It's not possible for everyone to bowl at 150-160 kilometres an hour and when you bowl at such speed you tend to get injuries."
Pakistan's two previous coaches, the late Bob Woolmer and Geoff Lawson, termed Akhtar as a "negative influence" on the team. * AFP