Dubai- Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram said no one can keep cricket away from Pakistan. Akram, who is an icon player for the Masters Champions League (MCL) to be held in February next year, said he hoped international teams would begin touring Pakistan after the recent series against Zimbabwe.

Answering to a query whether the blast that killed two people including a policeman during the second One Day international against Zimbabwe in Lahore would spell the death knell for other international teams visiting Pakistan, Akram said: “I only hope that it will not prevent teams from visiting Pakistan. Everything went smoothly apart for that one incident and that too it is not concrete and nobody knows what really happened in that particular incident.

“It should be noted that all the five games against Zimbabwe were packed though it was 48 degrees hot. People were queuing up three to four hours before the game and the whole country watched every ball. This is the passion we have in Pakistan for the game and we cannot keep away cricket from Pakistan.

“This is the first step that has been taken by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to bring back cricket to Pakistan and so well done to PCB and thanks to Zimbabwe,” he said.

When asked which past player he would have loved to see in action, especially in Twenty20 format, Akram said: “There are a lot of players who retired before this format. If I have to watch any bowler bowling in Twenty20 I will pick Australia’s Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. It is indeed great to imagine Thommo running in to bowl at WACA in a Twenty20 match.

“In batting obviously I would have loved to watch one and only Viv Richards bat in the Twenty20 format.”

Talking about playing in the MCL, Akram said: “It will be fun and exciting. We are all looking forward to it something very different and which I thought will never happen. Frankly, I never thought I would be asked to come and play a game again, although cricket is the only thing we know.

“Let us hope the first edition is a success and everybody is looking good and will try and give hundred per cent in the matches.”

Akram who turned 49, looked as fit as he did during his playing days. “The idea of staging MCL is very good as there are only a few who are lucky to gets jobs as commentators or coaches after retirement and the rest are struggling. The idea of this tournament is to help these guys come back and earn some money and play the sport they always loved.”

Courtesy: gulfnews