ICC President condoles Wasim Raja~~s death

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai: ICC President Percy Sonn paid tribute to former Pakistan all-rounder and match referee Wasim Raja who passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 54.

''This news has left me deeply shocked and saddened and I would like to express my sincere condolences to Wasim's wife and family,'' Mr Sonn said in a statement here.

''I did not know Wasim personally but what I do know is that the game has lost a great servant, a true entertainer and someone who played with a flair that only a player with real talent can display,'' the ICC President added in his condolence message.

Wasim passed away after reportedly suffering a heart attack during a match he was playing in Marlow in the United Kingdom.

The former all-rounder grew up in a cricket-loving family and his father, the late Saleem Akhtar, and two younger brothers, Zaeem and Rameez, played first-class cricket. Rameez, 10 years his junior, went on to captain Pakistan and served as the Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Executive as well as forging a successful career commentating on the game.

Wasim's first-class career spanned 20 years from 1967/68 during which he played 250 matches with 11434 runs as an attacking left-hander and 558 wickets thanks to his quickish leg-breaks.

He made his international debut in 1973 and went on to play at the highest level for 12 years, appearing in 57 Tests and 54 ODIs, including matches in each of the first three Cricket World Cups, in 1975, 1979 and 1983.

The pinnacle of his career was undoubtedly his performances in Pakistan's 1977 tour of the West Indies where, against the home side's legendary pace battery, he scored 517 runs, including an unbeaten 117 in Barbados, and took eight wickets at minimal cost.

His highest Test score was achieved against India in Jalandhar in September 1983 when he scored 125 and in the same match he took 4-50, also his best innings analysis.

In total, Wasim scored 2821 Test runs and took 51 wickets, while in ODIs he scored 782 runs and took 21 wickets.

His role as an ICC match referee saw him officiate in 15 Tests and 34 ODIs between 2002 and 2004, including four matches in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka and eight matches in the following year's ICC Cricket World Cup in southern Africa.

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