Sat, Mar 20, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Fan drops court case against Akhtar

AFP , LAHORE, PAKISTAN

A Pakistani cricket fan has dropped a court case against fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar so that the paceman can concentrate on matches against arch-rivals India, a lawyer said yesterday.

"My client Syed Najmul Abbas dropped the case in the interest of the country so that Akhtar can give his best against India," the petitioner's lawyer Ansar Mahmood Bajwa said.

Abbas had filed a petition in Lahore's civil court last year seeking a public apology from Akhtar over remarks against fellow players in an interview with British newspaper <>

The 27 year-old, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express for his lightening pace, had told the paper: "Imagine if I was playing for Australia with Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie softening them up, then I come on, I'd have got more wickets than anyone ever, mate."

"Here in Pakistan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are in decline. They were great but they are not match-winning bowlers any more. So I have to make it all happen on my own."

The petitioner had said that Akhtar's remarks tarnished the image of the country and filed a suit against him.

Abbas' lawyer said yesterday: "My client realised the big role Akhtar will play against India and decided to drop the case.

"We hope that Akhtar wins us matches against India and will not make irresponsible statements in the future."

Akhtar declined to comment on the reprieve.

India, currently on their first full tour of Pakistan since 1989, will play three Tests after the ongoing one-day series ends on March 24.

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