Wasim impressed by "progressive" Hampshire
Published: Friday, April 4, 2003, 3:06 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Wasim replaces Warne at English side Hampshire
London: Pakistani great Wasim Akram said on Thursday the attitude of Hampshire had been a key factor in his signing for the southern English county. Fast-bowling all-rounder Wasim, 36, who at the World Cup became the first player in history to take 500 One-day International wickets, said, "I was impressed by the enthusiasm and ideas shown by Hampshire and am delighted to join such a progressive county." And Hampshire manager Paul Terry believes Wasim's experience will be of immense value in helping the county bounce back to the first division of the County Championship following last season's relegation. "We hope his experience will rub off on our youngsters," former Hampshire and England opening batsman Terry said. "He is a world-class player - and we have the big-name signing we were looking for." Wasim has flown to St Lucia for a tournament on the Caribbean island but is due to join up with the rest of the Hampshire squad on April 9. Once a mainstay of the Lancashire attack, Wasim became one of Hampshire's overseas players - Australia batsman Simon Katich is the other - after his fast bowling international team-mate Shoaib Akhtar pulled out due to international commitments. The 'Rawalpindi Express' only became a Hampshire target after Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, who was due to captain the Rose Bowl-based club this season, was banned for a year following a positive drugs test in February. Now that Hampshire stalwart and former England middle-order batsman Robin Smith has resigned the county captaincy, Wasim could even find himself leading his new side.