'I was not ready for the series'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibakhtar_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Pakistan's Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib Akhtar has said he was not ready for the ongoing series against India.

Updated: November 15, 2007 16:54 IST
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Pakistan's Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib Akhtar has said he was not ready for the ongoing series against India.

"I was not ready to play the series against India. I wanted to play three-four matches before playing this series to get back to shape.

"But now I am working during the series to get back my form and shape," said Akhtar, while interacting with the students of the Scindia School in Gwalior on Tuesday.

In an informal session with the students, Akhtar spoke about how he reacts to media criticism, his favourite cricketers, his evolution as a bowler and finally on Indo-Pak cricket relations.

Akhtar, it may be recalled, was banned for 13 ODI's after he assaulted his fellow bowler Mohammed Asif with a bat during the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa. Shoaib was sent home following the incident.

He was, however, recalled in the side for the decider in the series against South Africa and was subsequently selected for the five match one-day series against India.

He is, however, yet to deliver in India.

Many of the Indian and the Pakistan cricketers made a trip to the century-old Scindia School, located in the historical Gwalior Fort.

Rudra Pratap Singh, S Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa, Shoaib Akhtar, Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, India team manager Lalchand Rajput and Rameez Raja were among those were invited by Jyotiraditya Scindia, scion of Gwalior, to meet the students.

When asked, how he reacts to criticism in the media, Akhtar said: "I don't read newspapers. I have learnt to live with them and I think it is a price you have to pay for being famous. It is very hard for me to move freely in India."

The fast bowler was all praise for Sachin Tendulkar. "I think Sachin is the most dazzling batsman. (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni can be destructive on his day. But I feel lucky to have played with Sachin, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram," said Akhtar.

He said that Australian Adam Gilchrist is among his all-time favourites and West Indian Brian Lara tops the list.

"Bowling quick is an enjoyable thing. I am trying to bowl as fast as I can right now. But now I have become a clever bowler. I have become sensible and bowl only two-three deliveries in an over," he added.

Akhtar said that India and Pakistan should play more often to improve the relationship between both the teams.

"It is a pleasurable experience to be back in India. This generation should grow up without any hard feelings against each other. We are the same people, just like you on the other side of the border," he added.

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