November 30, 2000

Pakistan: Team-mates honour Wasim with a gold plaque

Faisalabad, Nov 29: Former captain Wasim Akram was awarded a gold plaque by the Pakistan team for completing a century of Test appearances a stroke before start of the second cricket Test here on Wednesday.

Akram, who made his debut at Auckland in 1984-85, received the 150- gram and 22-carat gold plaque by coach and former captain Javed Miandad who has made the highest number of appearance for the country in Tests - 124. Salim Malik, another ex-captain who is currently banned for life, has played 103 Tests.

"I am delighted, flattered and honoured by this gesture of the Pakistan cricket team.I feel younger and motivated not only for this and Karachi Test but also to play for another two years," said Akram with moist eyes.

While the Pakistan cricket team honoured the only bowler in the game's history to capture 400 or more wickets in both Tests and One-day Internationals, the PCB officials who attended the brief ceremony empty-handed, didn't hesitate in getting themselves photographed with the guest of honour and the players.

All the 15 players were dressed in proper white kits. Dressed in green track suit, Pakistan coach Javed Miandad said: "I know how difficult it is to play 100 Tests. It proves your stamina, endurance and top physical fitness. Wasim has made the country proud throughout his career.

"Who can be more delighted than me because he made his debut in New Zealand under my captaincy," Miandad added.

Wasim Akram had made it to the Pakistan team for the New Zealand tour only on the recommendation of Miandad after he took seven wickets on his first-class debut against the same opposition.

Pakistan captain Moin Khan said: "He has provided the spectators world over some magnificent exhibition of fast bowling and excellent strokeplay. He deserved this. We have done no favours to him. In fact, it is because of him we have earned so much appreciation wherever cricket is played. He is a role model and an inspiration for the youngsters."

Danish Kaneria was also awarded Pakistan cap in the same ceremony by the skipper. As Wasim celebrates becoming 24th player in the world to play 100 Tests, Danish becomes 163rd to represent Pakistan at the highest level and the sixth from the minority community after Yousuf Youhana. Others belonging to the minority community who have represented the country in Tests in the past are Wallis Mathias, Antao D'Souza, Duncan Sharpe, and Anil Dalpat.