Akram eyeing another triumph

  • Our Correspondent, PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 11, 2003 01:29 IST

Among the several big guns who will bid farewell to cricket after the World Cup is the the top gun of the bowling department, Wasim Akram. The 36-year-old, who has fought off criticism, been haunted by allegations of match-fixing and has conquered diabetes to rule the world of one-day cricket, plays his last chapter here.

Four hundred and ninety wickets in 350 ODIs is a phenomenal record, one that few will ever get close to. Add to that his 400-plus Test wickets, and he stands alone in a class of his own.

Those tremendous shoulders and that whippy action make Akram a formidable bowler to face, as he is able to deliver the ball at great pace, moving it both ways, leaving the batsmen with very little time to react.

Akram is keen to take on the Australians on Tuesday. A victory against them, Akram believes, would make a strong case for Pakistan, aiming to win their second World Cup crown.

"I have always enjoyed taking on challenges," Akram says. "Australia are always a very competitive side and I enjoy playing and performing against them. I just can't wait for Tuesday's game.

"It will not be a grudge match, but we would certainly like to start the tournament on a winning note," Akram added.

But Akram has not forgotten the 1999 World Cup final, where his side were crushed so decisively by the same opponents.

"Memories of that final are still fresh," Akram said. "But I am determined to bury them once and forever in this tournament. This will surely be my last World Cup and I am keen to end on a high note."

"I am desperate to be in the final and that's the goal I have set for myself," he said. "I am not concerned who the man of the final is this time, but I want to see Pakistan in the final.”

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