Looking forward to duel with Tendulkar: Akhtar

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has lot of reasons to look forward to the upcoming World Cup, having missed the previous edition due to a doping ban, and one of them is the possibility of a duel with Indian batting icon Sachin 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 about being hit for sixes by Tendulkar. I have got him off the first ball too,” Akhtar told reporters.

“Not only Sachin, we will try to get other key players early because they can single-handedly win matches. Put them under pressure, and get them out early - that’s what I will like to do,” he added.

India and Pakistan are placed in different groups for the event, starting 19 February. The top-four from each group would advance to the quarterfinals and it is only from here on that the possibility of an Indo-Pak clash arises if the two teams move ahead from their respective pools.

“Pakistan need to win this World Cup at any cost. It will bring the charm back for people in Pakistan,” said Akhtar.

“We have the bowlers who can bowl at the death and we can restrict the sides. The main thing is that the ball is going to reverse swing as the match progresses. That is where I think Pakistan’s strength lies,” he added.

The 35-year-old said despite his age, he can still bowl at 150 kmph.

“I still bowl 150 kph (93 mph). Obviously when you are 26 and 36, it’s a bit different.

I will try to do as well as I can with whatever ability I have. I am going to push my limits and give it all to the team.”