Looking forward to duel with Tendulkar: Akhtar

Dhaka, Feb 13 (PTI) Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has lotof reasons to look forward to the upcoming World Cup, havingmissed the previous edition due to a doping ban, and one ofthem is the possibility of a duel with Indian batting iconSachin Tendulkar.

"We all know he is a great player. Every bowler gets hit.

Even Brett Lee gets hit a long way, so I am not worried aboutbeing hit for sixes by Tendulkar. I have got him off the firstball too," Akhtar told reporters here.

"Not only Sachin, we will try to get other key playersearly because they can single-handedly win matches. Put themunder pressure, and get them out early -- that''s what I willlike to do," he added.

India and Pakistan are placed in different groups for theevent, starting February 19 here. The top-four from each groupwould advance to the quarterfinals and it is only from here onthat the possibility of an Indo-Pak clash arises if the twoteams move ahead from their respective pools.

Speaking of Pakistan''s chances, Akhtar said the team hasto win the mega-event to reclaim the fan-base that has beenhit due to the scandalous one year in which three of theteam''s top players were handed bans for involvement inspot-fixing.

Akhtar admitted that former captain Salman Butt andpacers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif -- the trio banned bythe ICC -- would be missed.

"Obviously we are very hurt inside by whatever hashappened to us. Pakistan need to win this World Cup at anycost. It will bring the charm back for people in Pakistan,"said Akhtar.

"We are unfortunate that they are not there. But what canwe do now? We have got to move on. I think whatever paceattack we have is good enough to win matches.

"We have the bowlers who can bowl at the death and we canrestrict the sides. The main thing is that the ball is goingto reverse swing as the match progresses. That is where Ithink Pakistan''s strength lies," he added.

The 35-year-old said despite his age, he can still bowlat 150/kph.

"I still bowl 150 kph (93 mph). Obviously when you are 26and 36, it''s a bit different. I will try to do as well as Ican with whatever ability I have. I am going to push my limitsand give it all to the team." PTI PM CM

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