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'Akhtar hasn't approached us for a farewell match'

Bapun Raz

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Karachi: Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has not approached the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to allow him to play a farewell match for the national team nor has he asked them to help him organise a benefit match.

Official sources in the PCB said that so far they have only read media reports about Shoaib wanting the board to allow him to play a farewell match with the national team.

"So far he has not spoken to us about it and we are also reading things in the media, but when he does come to us with any proposal, obviously the Chairman will consider it," one source said.

Media reports have said that the controversial bowler who retired after the World Cup wants the PCB to allow him to play one final match for Pakistan.

The fast bowler ended the World Cup on a disappointing note when he was not selected by the tour selectors in the last three important matches, including the semi-final against India at Mohali.

His last match was the game against New Zealand where he went for 28 runs in one over and also had a serious run-in with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, who had dropped two catches in one over off his to give Ross Taylor two lives and the Kiwi batsman went on to score a match winning century.

But while the PCB is not yet aware of any plans by Shoaib to play a farewell match or organise a benefit, his home associations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, two teams that he has represented in domestic cricket are clear they want to give the fast bowler a deserving and honorable retirement send-off.

The Rawalpindi Region -- where the pacer launched his domestic career -- is now planning to hold an exhibition match to honour him.

Naeem Akhtar, the President of the region, confirmed they are planning to hold a benefit match for the speedster. "Obviously considering the services he has given to Pakistan cricket, he deserves a worthy sendoff and we will talk to the board about a befitting farewell for him," Naeem said.



Naeem, who is also a member of the PCB`s Governing Board, said he would take up the issue at the board meeting. Meanwhile, the Islamabad region also said that it wanted to give a befitting farewell to Shoaib Akhtar, who belongs to the capital.

An Islamabad association official said that plans were afoot to organise a T20 match involving the Pakistan team players in the near future as a tribute for the fast bowler.

Islamabad Region President Shakil Ahmed Sheikh said that Akhtar was an outstanding player for Pakistan and deserved better.

Akhtar, who took 178 Test wickets in 46 match and 247 wickets in 163 One-Day Internationals, announced his retirement from all formats of cricket during the 2011 World Cup, while expressing his desire to play the remaining matches of the tournament.

PTI