Grateful Wasim says retirement decision is final

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2003, 22:15 [IST]
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Karachi: Former Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram on Wednesday said he had been overwhelmed by expressions of support since his decision to retire from international cricket, but stressed that the decision was final. "I am thankful to all my colleagues, coaches and fans around the world for their support throughout my career and want to tell them that my decision to quit is final," Wasim, who announced his retirement on Sunday, said in a phone interview from England. "Since my announcement I have received tremendous feedback and fans and friends called me, sent e-mails and requested me to play a last time for Pakistan in England next month or play against India. "But I think my days are over and, maybe, I will do commentary on a Pakistan-India match when the ties are restored." The celebrated left arm pacer took 502 wickets in 356 One-day matches - both world records - in a career spanning 19 years. He also took 414 wickets in 104 Tests. But his glittering record was not enough to save him from being axed in a mass clean-up following Pakistan's embarrassing first round exit in the World Cup two months ago. Wasim, 37 next month, also pledged to clear his name of match-fixing allegations. "Some people tried to unnecessarily drag me into a match fixing controversy, but I have forgiven all of them and will clear my name," he said. Wasim was fined Rupees 600,000 (around $ 10,344) and barred from captaining Pakistan after a match-fixing inquiry in May 2000 found that his behaviour was "not above board," although no evidence was produced against him. Wasim's appeal against the finding is due to be heard on his return from England some time after September. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last month appointed a retired High Court judge to hear the appeal. "I never did anything wrong for which I had to feel shame, but people tend to forget my achievements for the country," said Wasim, who was named "player of the tournament" in the 1992 World Cup in Australia, which was won by Pakistan. Topping Wasim's "golden memories" are Pakistan's World Cup victory that year, and its defeat of main rival India in 1987 and 1999. Wasim, who captained Pakistan on its last tour of India in 1999, urged both sides, victims of the 17-month stand-off between the rival neighbours, to shun the politics and restore full sporting ties. "For the sake of billions of fans in both countries we should revive cricketing ties," he said. Wasim is set to play for English county club Hampshire until September. Copyright AFP 2001

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