A. Khan says Good Bye- D.S. News
Veteran batsman Akram Khan has expressed his desire to quit international cricket. The former Bangladesh captain is expected to formally announce his retirement on Monday.
"I've decided to call it a day after talking it over with my family and friends. In fact, for the last month I was thinking about the matter, he told reporters at his Kazir Dewri residence here yesterday.
The popular cricketer however wishes to continue playing for his club Abahani at least for another two years.
Akram said his reason for wanting to end his Test career was purely on personal grounds. "It was not an overnight decision. I have consulted everybody including my wife, relatives and even fellow cricketers over the past few weeks to prepare myself for today's announcement.
' All sporting figures want to bow out at the top of their game and I am no exception. I feel this is the right moment for me to take such a decision."
The burly 34-year-old Chittagonian hopes to devote more time to his family and concentrate on business ventures in the port city and capital after ending his Bangladesh career.
"Cricket has kept me away from my family for too long. At last I can spend more time with them now."
Akram is best remembered for his role in a glorious 1997 ICC Trophy campaign in Malaysia. A match-winning knock of 67 not out against the Netherlands in the quaterfinals sealed his place in Bangladesh cricket folklore.
Bangladesh were facing the prospect of getting knocked out of the competition when skipper Akram played the innings of his life to carry the Tigers into the semifinal. Bangladesh went on to lift the ICC Trophy thus winning qualification for the 1999 World Cup in England for the first time in their history.
The Tigers' impressive World Cup showing, that included a stunning win against giants Pakistan, caught the world by storm and the game's ruling body ICC bestowed Test status on them a year later. Many feel had it not been for Akram's heroics, Bangladesh would've been left in the wilderness for many more years.
Akram who made his Test debut in November 2000 against India, said his one regret in an otherwise satisfying career was the fact that he could not score either a hundred or a fifty in eight appearances in the ultimate version of the game. His best being 44 against hosts Zimbabwe in April 2001.
"It was a dream that never came true in my life," he lamented.
On the other hand, his one-day international record includes five half-centuries in 44 matches with a top score of 65 against Kenya.
Akram has another reason to be proud because during a career spanning 15 years he had the privilege of captaining Bangladesh from 1995-98.
"Certainly getting the chance to lead my country was a great honour and something I will always cherish.
At the same time the soft-spoken Akram knows in his heart that the last few years may not have been that productive in the international arena despite his prolific form in domestic cricket. "The last two years were particularly stressful for me. But I overcame those bad days with the blessings and support from my family as well as the well-wishers and fans across the country. I am grateful to them all."
Akram said he would be informing the BCB in writing about decision very shortly and on Monday he would make an official statement to the press.