After demolishing Delhi Dardevils with a lethal opening spell in his maiden Indian Premier League outing, Shoaib Akhtar said that he had "no points to make to anybody".
- Images: Kolkata beat Delhi
"I just wanted to win the game. I have no points to make to anybody," the Rawalpindi Express said, minutes after
finishing with amazing figures of 3-0-11-4 that wiped out the Delhi Daredevils top-order and ensured a 23-run victory for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Akhtar thanked his teammates, coach John Buchanan, skipper Sourav Ganguly and Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan for their constant backing.
"Everyone chipped in and the fielding was excellent," he said.
Akhtar's participation in the tournament looked remote at one stage, after he was slapped with a five-year ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board and the IPL authorities decreed they would not allow him to play until the punishment was lifted.
Even when the PCB took a lenient stand, letting him to play outside Pakistan, the IPL bosses stuck to their rigid stance, which put the Kolkata Knight Riders in much difficulty.
Things changed when the Pakistan authorities suspended the ban for a month and Shoaib arrived in the city to a rousing welcome and amidst media glare.
Still, there were doubts over his fitness and coach Buchanan shied away from fielding him in the games opposite Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers.
"He is coming up well. He is very keen to play. But still he is not in the kind of condition he would have been happy to be ahead of a match," Buchanan had said.
However, Knight Riders skipper, Ganguly, gave the first indication two days ago that Shoaib would play at the Eden Gardens, and the last hurdle was removed when the speedster cleared a fitness test earlier in the day.
There were scenes of jubilation all round the park, and Shah Rukh even rushed into the field as soon as the victory was sealed and hugged the man who turned things around with his four-wicket burst.