I have seen a pleasant change in Malik, says Akhtar

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibm.jpg' class='caption'> Pak skipper Shoaib Malik has earned an admirer in pacer Shoaib Akhtar who feels the all-rounder has changed his attitude towards the senior players.

Updated: December 12, 2008 11:28 IST
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Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik has earned an admirer in pacer Shoaib Akhtar who feels the all-rounder has changed his attitude towards the senior players during the recently concluded Abu Dhabi one-day series against West Indies.

"It was a pleasant change to see he (Shoaib) had changed his attitude. This is good and if he continues like this the senior players are all there to support and back him," Akhtar told a television show hosted by former captain Rameez Raja.

"I have never said anything on Malik but yes I do feel that in any team senior players need to be given respect and regard they deserve.

"I have always got along well with the junior players and I keep on smiling in the dressing room. I only get serious on the field," the fast bowler said.

Malik's attitude has come under criticism in recent days and senior batsman, Mohammad Yousuf, who defected to 'rebel' Indian cricket League last month, blamed that he was not given enough respect by the captain and so he decided to join the league.

Malik, however, has denied Yousuf's allegations and on the contrary has said that he had a lot of respect for Yousuf and was even willing to go to his house to clear the misunderstandings.

Shoaib said senior players were always willing to cooperate and give advice when asked to do so by the management.

Shoaib Akhtar in a candid interview spoke about his cricket career and personal life and about Indian bollywood star Shahrukh Khan who owns the Kolkata Knight Riders team in the Indian Premier League for whom the fast bowler played this year.

"Shahrukh is a very friendly person and he has this knack of making everyone feel special. I look at him as an elder brother and he treated me with lot of care and respect when I signed up for his team," Shoaib said.

The fast bowler credited new coach Intikhab Alam for bringing about a positive change in the captain and team atmosphere.

"Intikhab is a very senior and respected person and he has brought about positive changes. He has been there constantly following my rehabilitation process and keeping tabs on my fitness and form. I like that I want to feel wanted," Shoaib said.

The pacer admitted it was frustrating for him and other players that foreign teams were not willing to tour Pakistan because of security reasons.

"It is a pity because cricket is like a religion in Pakistan and visiting players get a lot of admiration and fan following. There is need to resume normal cricket activities in Pakistan," he said.

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