May 18, 2003

Wasim Akram announces international retirement

Wisden CricInfo staff

Wasim Akram has announced that he is retiring from international cricket with immediate effect.

Wasim said that it was time to look to life after cricket. "My future is somewhere else after September," he told Sky Sports's Charles Colville. "Maybe I will be working in television or coaching. There are no regrets. There have been ups and downs but I would not have changed it for anything else."

Wasim had suggested that he was ready to quit several times in recent months, but the bitter disappointment of the World Cup proved to be a sad finale to a remarkable career. He was one of eight senior players dropped for April's Sharjah Cup, and was then omitted from the Pakistan squad for the current Bank Alfalah Cup triangular series. At 36, and with Pakistan publicly looking to build for the future, it was unlikely whether Wasim would have been able to force his way back into the side anyway.

Wasim will honour his contract to play for Hampshire until the end of the English season.

In a career which spanned 19 years Wasim played in 104 Tests scoring 2898 runs at 22.64 and taking 414 wickets at 23.62. In 356 ODIs he scored 3717 runs at 16.52 and took 502 wickets at 23.52. He was the first man to achieve the double of 400 wickets in both Tests and ODIs.

But the figures don't tell the whole story. In his pomp Wasim was a devastating bowler with the new ball, and was subsequently one of the first to exploit reverse swing with the old ball to devastating effect. His aggregates with the bat only hint at his destructive late middle-order capability, and his batting was an aspect where results did not equate to ability.

The second half of his career was also dogged by controversy, and in 2000 he was one of six players censured and fined for not fully co-operating with a Pakistan Cricket Board investigation into match-fixing scandals.