The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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I was close to quitting: Anwar

Islamabad: Former Pakistan captain Saeed Anwar, who staged a comeback to the World Cup team, said he was on the verge of announcing his retirement from international cricket when he was not selected for the tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa late last year.

The 34-year-old left-hand opener, who has become a devout Muslim and sports a long beard, however, added he believed that faith had reserved a big role for him in the World Cup campaign.

“When I was not picked for the tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa, I thought about quitting the game. But my family, friends supported me and my religious leaders told me that the nature had something else in mind for me.

“They said that I would still be required to play a key role for Pakistan in the World Cup.”

Anwar, who is placed sixth in the all time top-scorers in one-day International with 8605 runs from 242 matches, won a recall after the Pakistan selectors and team management tried out different opening combinations this year with no real success.

“I know well that if the top order can get some runs on the board, our team is capable of defeating anyone. We showed this in Australia this year,” he said

Meanwhile, after getting a place in the World Cup squad, a relieved Wasim Akram said he was looking forward to give his best to help the side win.

Wasim said given that he was approaching the end of his career he would like nothing better then to see Pakistan win the title in South Africa.

“It has been an honour to play in four World Cups and lead the side in two of them. I know there would be a lot of expectations from me in this tournament.”

The fast bowler, however, said he was yet to make his mind about quitting even though he had been expressing a desire to do so after the World Cup.

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