Pakistan news July 9, 2009

I could have sued PCB for revealing warts - Shoaib

Cricinfo staff

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said he considered suing the Pakistan cricket management for revealing, in a public statement, the skin ailment that forced him to miss last month's World Twenty20. The PCB's statement on his fitness ahead of the tournament in England said Akhtar had been diagnosed with genital viral warts; he was subsequently removed from the squad.

"I kept quiet because I have a central contract and didn't want to offend the PCB, but I could have sued the Pakistan team management," Akhtar said in a TV programme on Express News. "I didn't want the Pakistan team to suffer because my news is published all over the world."

Akhtar belongs to category A of the PCB's centrally contracted players, who are barred from openly criticising the cricket board's decisions.

The injury-prone fast bowler last played a Test in 2007, against India, before he was sidelined for 14 months with fitness and disciplinary problems. He made two unimpressive comebacks to international cricket this year - in the one-day series at home against Sri Lanka, and the five ODIs and lone Twenty20 against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Akhtar, however, believes he can still get back to his best.

"There's still three-four good years left in me," he said. "I am the fastest bowler in history and it's not possible for everyone to bowl at 150 (kph)."

He also said he felt shortening his run-up - as suggested by former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer - would not prolong his career. "It doesn't suit me," Akhtar said. "My run-up is my speed, previously (in cricket) nobody has bowled as fast as I have bowled."

Akhtar believed he could have been picked for the ongoing three-Test series away to Sri Lanka as he had regained full fitness. "I am perfectly fine now and I can play five-day matches, why not?" he said. "But it depends on which tour suits me. Had they [selectors] considered me for the Sri Lanka series only, then I could have told you whether it suited me. If they considered me for two Test matches out of three I could have considered it."