Akram denies rift in team, says his body needs rest

Published: Friday, September 27, 2002, 1:57 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram said Thursday he bowed out of next month's Test series against Australia to give his body a rest and not because of any disagreements.

"I have opted out of the Test series against Australia due to over-exertion. My body needs a rest and there is no rift behind me missing the series," Wasim said. Wasim, along with Inzamam-ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Anwar and sacked manager Yawar Saeed returned from Sri Lanka on Wednesday night. Opener Saeed Anwar has also opted out of the series while vice-captain Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana had to pull out due to injuries. "I am disappointed to miss an important series but it's no use playing when your body doesn't allow. It badly needs a rest and I had conveyed that I would not play the series long beforehand," said Wasim, 36. Wasim, one of the world's great pacemen, has the unique record of having taken more than 400 wickets in both forms of the game - 414 in 104 Tests and 479 in a record 343 One-day games - since starting his career in 1984-85. "This will give youngsters a chance to establish themselves and I will not be there always. Somebody has to take it from me some day," he said. "My main target is to play more and more one-day games and the World Cup will definitely be my last event," said Wasim, who suffers from diabetes. His decision to miss the series sparked talk of a rift in the team. But Wasim dismissed the reports and said he had no ambition to reclaim the captaincy. "Such things creep up whenever we lose but I have had my stints as captain and I am not at all interested in leading because I have decided to retire next year," he said. "Pakistan have played hard in the last few tournaments but we have lost and once we win two or three games all things will fall into place."

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