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Akram: I did not do the ad

Karachi: Wasim Akram has denied allegations of appearing in an Indian liquor advertisement, a day after a court summoned him to explain his position over a private petition.

“The news that a petition is filed against me in a Pakistan court surprised me because I never featured in a liquor advertisement and can never imagine to break religious laws,” said Wasim over the telephone from Manchester.

The 37-year-old, who retired in May after an illustrious career spanning 19 years, was summoned by a Lahore court to appear in September to face charges of damaging Muslim sentiments for posing in a liquor advertisement. The petition, filed by a Pakistani citizen, Mohammad Fayyaz, last year, demands a public apology from Wasim and damages of Rs 25,000 (around $400).

“I think it’s a publicity stunt which is very common in Pakistan and I am used to it,” said Wasim, who holds the world record of highest wickets in one day Internationals. “I have all the documentary proof to substantiate that I modelled for cricket gears for an Indian company which has other businesses as well,” said Wasim.

The petitioner’s lawyer Ansar Mahmood Bajwa denied it’s a publicity stunt and said it’s was a matter of principle.

Wasim is one of eight players — including Harbhajan Singh, Glen McGrath, Jonty Rhodes, Mervyn Dillon, Stephen Fleming, Marvan Atapattu and Andy Flower — who have modelled for the Indian company Royal Stag.

No to farewell match

Wasim Akram is unlikely to come out of retirement to make a farewell appearance against South Africa in October.

“I am grateful to the PCB they have offered me this final chance to play for Pakistan and in front of my home crowd. But I think once you have retired it is over,” Wasim said from England.

The PCB responded to Wasim’s retirement announcement by offering him a chance to play against South Africa as a tribute to his contribution to Pakistan cricket. (Agencies)

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