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Waqar a role model for youngsters

Sachin Tendulkar, who made his Test debut in the same Test as Waqar Younis, delivered a nice and short speech that lauded the speedster at a farewell dinner hosted by the PCB.
PTI | By Qaiser Mohammad Ali (IANS), Islamabad
UPDATED ON APR 13, 2004 07:02 PM IST

Sachin Tendulkar, who made his Test debut in the same Test as Waqar Younis on India's 1989 tour of Pakistan, delivered a nice and short speech that lauded the fearsome Pakistani speedster at a farewell dinner hosted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

He said Waqar was his role model for youngsters and was a pleasure to watch, "until one was not required to watch with pads on at the other end of the pitch".

Those who also spoke at the poolside dinner were PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, chief executive Rameez Raja, Indian team manager Ratnakar Shetty and Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Inzamam also presented to Waqar a specially designed gold memento that had the shape of a cricket ball attached to a small stand at the back.

Openers cross borders

That opening batsmen Aakash Chopra of India and Imran Farhat of Pakistan get along well became evident at the dinner for Waqar Younis.

The other Pakistani left-handed opener Taufeeq Umar also joined the two for some time. But Aakash and Farhat continued to chat as if they had known each other for a long, long time, and it did not look they belonged to rival teams.

Farhat and Aakash, who are of almost the same height and age, discussed the weight of their bats, the growing competition in both countries, how cricket can affect studies, and the number of bats they carry for home matches and overseas tours.

As they talked at length by the poolside of the Marriott Hotel, Pakistan No. 3 batsman Yasir Hameed and Indian off-spinner Ramesh Powar intently listened but hardly interfered.

The only time Powar chipped in was when the topic veered to county cricket.

Exhibition match at Abu Dhabi

One topic that both Indian and Pakistani players were heard discussing during the dinner was of the upcoming one-day exhibition match at Abu Dhabi in the first week of May.

The organisers of the match, likely to be played between Indian and Pakistani XIs, are reportedly offering fabulous appearance money.

One senior Indian player said the organisers were offering "$4,000 to $5,000" for the match, which is a good amount for a day's work.

No wonder then that several Indian and Pakistani players are interested in the match.

Squash in times of cricket

Legendary squash exponent Rahmat Khan, who sacrificed his career to coach squash's best-known player Jahangir Khan, was a star attraction at the dinner.

Rahmat, the chief national coach of Pakistan, lives in Lahore but is currently in Islamabad where he is conducting a national camp.

One of the best things about Rahmat is his humility and the easiness with which he can discus any topic, from sport to his religion.

Married to famous Pakistani and Bollywood-Pakistani actress-singer Salma Agha, Rahmat has lived for some time in Mumbai and spent that time as coach of the Maharashtra squash association.

Rahmat has happy memories of his stay in India, and has several friends in that country including multiple Indian woman squash champion Bhuwaneshwari Kumari and her brother Yogendra Singh.

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