Shoaib Akhtar Hits Back At Criticism

Pakistan strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar blamed a lack of pace support for him in the 1-0 test series defeat in India and rejected former captain Imran Khan's criticism that he did not try hard enough. "It's disappointing to have lost the test series in India but the bottom line is that we didn't have enough pace in our bowling, there was no one there to back me up," he told Web site on Thursday. The temperamental bowler struggled with fitness in the last two tests after taking six wickets in a losing cause in the first game in Delhi, finishing with just nine scalps, averaging 33.11. Imran made his comments in an Indian TV channel on Wednesday. Akhtar said: "Imran Khan, who is a man and former player I admire and respect greatly, singled me out in his television analysis and said I should be disappointed with myself. "I realise he was being kind in saying I am a match-winner, but I can't win test matches on my own." Akhtar bemoaned the absence of injured new ball bowlers Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul. "Imran had players like (leg spinner Abdul) Qadir and Wasim (Akram) to back him up or Sarfraz (Nawaz) before those days," he said. "You just can't expect one bowler to win a series on his own. That's totally wrong." The Pakistan team management was also criticised for picking him for the drawn second test in Kolkata after he was taken to hospital for a chest infection on the eve of the game. "In hindsight I shouldn't have played but I was trying to serve my country and do the right thing." © Reuters 2007