Farewell extravaganza being planned for Shoaib | Pakistan Today

Farewell extravaganza being planned for Shoaib

LAHORE – Senior officials in the Pakistan Cricket Board are planning a farewell extravaganza for speedster Shoaib Akhtar, it has been revealed.
Sources say that several regional cricket associations are planning to organise exhibition matches in a bid to give Akhtar, who retired from international cricket during the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup, a fitting farewell.
The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ appeared a spent force in the Pakistan squad during the ICC CWC. With his performances below par, Akhtar duly failed to earn a spot in Pakistan’s team for the final which lost to close rivals India. Reports say Akhtar is still prepared to change his mind and play a swansong match for Pakistan. However, that seems unlikely given that Pakistan’s team management remains unhappy with the pacer’s attitude during the ICC CWC. Nevertheless, there are those who value Akhtar’s contributions over the years – particularly at domestic level, with the Rawalpindi region, where Akhtar started his career, especially keen to hold an exhibition match in his honour.
“He has done a great service to Pakistan and deserves a better farewell. We will not let ‘Rawalpindi Express’ retire just like that,” president of Rawalpindi region, Syed Naeem Akhtar, said on Saturday. “We would invite national cricketers in the match to bid farewell to the great fast bowler,” he said while hinting it could be organised on sidelines of the National Twenty20 tournament, opening in Islamabad on June 24.
He continued: “The match is not possible in the near future due to the absence of the national team. It is being planned on the sidelines of the T20 tournament when most of the national stars, who want to feature in the match, would be present.”
Meanwhile, the Islamabad region – with which Akhtar is currently associated – has demanded an international farewell match. “He is a great cricketer and deserves to play his farewell match for Pakistan,” said Islamabad region president said. “We have plans to hold exhibition match for Shoaib (Akhtar) but we want to see him playing his last match for Pakistan. If teams are not visiting Pakistan, then a match can be arranged in Dubai. He could also be given the chance to play in the team’s forthcoming series.”

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