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Shoaib Akhtar

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    Shoaib Akhtar

    Rawalpindi Express steams into Nottingham

    Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar steamed into Trent Bridge on Tuesday and promptly declared that his new English team Nottinghamshire's fortunes would change rapidly next season.

    The world's fastest bowler, nicknamed the 'Rawalpindi Express', is relishing the prospect of trying to revive a Notts side that will be playing second division cricket in both league competitions next season.

    Shoaib was not deterred by Notts' plight in the advanced stages of the negotiations that led to his being signed as the overseas replacement for Vasbert Drakes at Trent Bridge. "There is obviously a big job to be done because Notts haven't performed that well this year, but I am one who relishes a challenge," said the 24-year-old Pakistan paceman, who was paraded at a news conference on Tuesday. "I have been in a Pakistan team that is used to winning and I like to play positive cricket, so I am sure I can help get the club back on the right track again." In choosing Notts, Shoaib admitted that he had followed the advice of former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan, who has been such a big influence on him. "He told me it would do me a power of good to play under a legend like Clive Rice and that certainly had a bearing on my decision to come here," he said. "But having spent a lot of time in England over the past eight years I am well aware of what a nice, friendly place Trent Bridge is and what a wonderful ground it is, so that played a part in my decision." Shoaib is not concerned about the demands of playing county cricket, coming as it will next year after a busy winter schedule in which he will tour Australia and the West Indies with Pakistan. "I know it will be a big strain on my body but I also know it will help me to develop as a fast bowler because I am still on a steep learning curve," said the fast bowler. "You have to accept that in this line of work there are going to be times when you're tired and you'll be carrying one or two niggles, but that won't hold me back. "Notts can rest assured that I'm not going to come here, pick up the money and not give it everything. That's not my style." Shoaib recently pulled out of a tournament in Toronto with Pakistan due to a shoulder injury, but although he is booked in for a routine check with a specialist he said that the problem was not serious. "I expect to be fit for the tournament that takes place in Sharjah next month," he said.

    Notts cricket manager Rice is understandably excited about the prospect of having Shoaib to spearhead his attack and said: "He'll sort out the men from the boys. "He has the capacity to have three or four of them out before a ball is bowled because a lot of batsmen won't be relishing the prospect of facing someone who can bowl at nearly 100 miles per hour. "Once I knew Shoaib wanted to come here and play for a county he was our number one target. Not only is he faster than anyone else in the game, the fact that he is so young and so eager to learn appealed to me."


    Quite literate fella!!!!!

    He'll learn alot there in western atmosphere..
    I can see very good leadership qualities in Shoib as now

    PakJunooni ka Nara Pak Hamara Tumhara


      Once he plays County Cricket in England, he'll learn how English bowlers and batsmen perform, the English pitches, weather, good sportsmenship, couching standards, English stradegy.. etc.
      I think it's very good that Overseas players go and play County Cricket, it's very useful what they bring back their team. All those points can be very helpful. I think playing county cricket makes you more of a stronger player since you play matches like every week, so many practises make you more better. Saqlain, Wasim and Waqar were really helped by county cricket. And I think it'll make Shoaib even better than now.


        County cricket polished the rough edges of Imran, Waqar and Wasim. Shoaib will learn a lot and in two season's tiem will be a force to reckon with, if he is not one already.