Shoaib to honour IPL committment

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Mumbai, Feb 15 (UNI) Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar today dismissed all speculation saying that it is his desire to win back a contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board, and his commitment of playing in Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) promoted DLF Indian Premier League Twenty20 championship.

''My absolute priority in my cricket career has always been to take wickets for Pakistan and help my country win matches. I am hopeful of entering a new contract with my board very soon,'' he said.

Shoaib also dismissed recent speculation surrounding his involvement in the DLF IPL.

He stated in a release, ''My commitment to the DLF IPL is absolute. There is a lot of talk flying around players at the moment regarding the new Twenty20 competitions, but I have signed with the DLF IPL and I am so excited about the upcoming bid process and finding out which franchisee I will play for.'' ''I have recently spoken with Lalit Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of IPL, and I am so impressed with what he has created here and I want to play a big part in this venture succeeding for everyone,'' he added.

Shoaib's commitment to this is underlined by the fact that he will travel to India in the early part of next week to hold talks with Franchises, ahead of the player bid process here on February 20, which he will also attend.

Shoaib said, ''I can't wait to be allocated to a City and Franchise. My contract with them will be a three year deal initially, so I am in it for the long haul. I cannot wait to interact with the local fan base and become one of their 'own' players.'' He added, ''If I am able to win even a fraction of the 'love' the Indian people have for their players it will be amazing. And I will be giving everything I can to try and achieve that for the next three years and hopefully beyond.'' UNI GS NM RKM DS1532

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