Karachi: Pakistan pace bowler Junaid Khan has turned down some attractive offers to play for English counties this summer as he wants to put all his energy in preparing well for the Champions Trophy, a tournament his side has never won.
Junaid, who did extremely well in the ODIs in India in December and then made an impressive comeback in the ODI series in South Africa, said he had got good offers from Durham and some other counties. "I don't think this is the right time for me to go and play county cricket. Pakistan have a hectic international season ahead of them this year and the Champions Trophy is a very important tournament for us as we have never won it," he said.
"I want to focus on preparing well for the Champions Trophy which would be tough competition as we placed in a strong group against the best teams," he said. Pakistan will face India and South Africa among others in their group.
Junaid said he had consulted the cricket board and selectors before taking a decision. "I have played for Lancashire in the county championship and I know it can be very beneficial for a young bowler," said the 23-year old pacer who has taken 29 Test and 32 one-day wickets so far.
Junaid said he is a big admirer of former fast bowling great Wasim Akram and would seek his advice before the Champions Trophy. "In the past also Wasim Akram has been of great help and as we have heard he is going to visit us in the national camp for the Champions Trophy and if that happens it will be great for me and the other pace bowlers," he said.