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Shoaib Akhtar to marry soon

Written by: Staff

Lahore, July 6 (UNI) Yearning to have a family of his own, Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar is all set to tie the knot in the next few months but has refused to reveal the name of the prospective bride, saying the matter is too personal to be discussed in the media.

''I'm planning to settle down within the next few months or so. I can't reveal the name. It's very personal and it would not be fair to her. I want to have a family life now and want to see my children grow up,'' Shoaib said in an interview to a website.

The pacer, who has been ruled out of Pakistan's tour of England due to an ankle injury, said he wants to be a good father in the near future.

''I would want to be a good Muslim and a good father to my children,'' he said.

The flamboyant player admitted to carrying injuries last year and said playing with them have contributed to his recent ankle fracture. He, however, was confident of a recovery within the next two weeks.

''They (the Pakistan Cricket Board) asked me not to play in the England one-day and Test match series (last year) but I just wanted to play. I kept playing and kept hurting myself. Then I had a fracture in my left ankle. Now I'm struggling with my fitness at the moment but I think it would be okay within two weeks' time,'' he said.

Often criticised for concentrating more on speed than line and length, Shoaib said the assessment was unfair as his wicket-taking abilities were as good as his pace. The tearaway bowler reiterated that he would not cut down on his speed despite the criticism.

''There is this fascination with speed which excites people more than the fact that I'm taking wickets and that's something I can't change, can I? That's the way it is. Besides, everyone's entitled to their own opinion,'' Shoaib said, brushing aside comments about his erratic form.

The naturally aggressive bowler said contrary to popular perception, he was not a tantrum-thrower but liked expressing himself freely to his captain.

''If you have a better plan than that of the captain's then you can discuss it with him but obviously you have to get the captain involved in it. I think you need to communicate really well with your captain and your team,'' he said.

A cricketer by default, Shoaib said though he never planned a life in the fast lane but Imran Khan's achievements always fascinated him.

''Basically Imran was the inspiration and this really got me started. I was in England at that time and I started playing cricket when I was 17. Just like that, I didn't really plan anything,'' he revealed.

Often compared to Aussie pacer Brett Lee in the pace department, Shoaib said he has never thought of competing with his Australian counterpart as winning matches for Pakistan was more important for him than vying for fast bowling honours.

''My intentions have never been that I have to be faster than him (Lee) or anyone else. It's about winning the match for the country not about competition between two players,'' he added.

Describing his flamboyant image as a creation of the media, the Rawalpindi Express said the journalists have misrepresented him but added that the attention did not bother him any more.

''I'm a very quiet person and since I've moved to Lahore I don't really hang out that much. I like doing adventurous things but the media misrepresents them. I don't react to such comments. It doesn't bother me much now,'' he said.


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