WC 2003 - Emotional Anwar dedicates century to his late daughter
Published: Sunday, March 2, 2003, 23:04 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
I immediately realized the mistake, repentant Razzaq
The most important innings of my career: Tendulkar
Boys went down a little after Sachin's innings: Waqar
Johannesburg: An emotional Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar on Sunday dedicated his World Cup century against arch-rivals India to his four-year daughter who died two years ago. "I am grateful to the Almighty that I scored this hundred. It has to be for Bismah who has always been in my thoughts," Anwar said. Anwar hit 101, his 20th One-day century, on Saturday but was upstaged by Sachin Tendulkar who hammered 98 off 75 balls to help India win the high-profile encounter by six wickets. The 34-year-old grew a beard and began preaching Islam to recover from the death of his young daughter Bismah who died in Lahore in August, 2001 following a mysterious illness. "Her death was God's wish and turning to religion has given me the strength to cope with the tragedy," Anwar said. His selection for the World Cup was questioned by the Pakistani media, who called it a gamble since Anwar had lost his batting form while devoting his time to preaching. Anwar was also unfairly accused of distracting team-mates by urging them to attend his lectures. "I have tried to balance my life and want to play as long as I am fit to compete in top class cricket," said Anwar. A wrist injury last year forced him to miss Pakistan's tour of Bangladesh and the Test series against the West Indies at the neutral venue of Sharjah. Recalled for the three-nation Morocco Cup in Tangiers in August, where he failed to get among the runs, Anwar was ignored for the three Tests against Australia in Sri Lanka and Sharjah. Anwar, who holds the world record for the highest One-day innings of 194, against India in 1997, revealed he wanted to quit cricket after being left out of the tour of South Africa late last year. "I had almost given up on the game but my close friends and relatives told me to play in the World Cup and here I am," he said. Anwar missed Pakistan's opening match against Australia with an elbow injury sustained when he was hit in the nets by a rising ball from fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. He made 23, 29 and 25 in the next three games before returning to form against his favourite Indian bowling attack. "Playing against India brings out the best in me," said Anwar, who completed 2000 runs in 50 One-day games against the Indians. "It was very disappointing to lose the game. Hopefully the next time I score runs, Pakistan wins."