| ANWAR: Wants a ‘good religious life’
Islamabad: Veteran Pakistan opening batsman Saeed Anwar has decided to retire from cricket saying he wanted to go out gracefully rather than being “thrown” out by someone else.
“I have played enough cricket and now it’s time to leave,” the 34-year-old left-hander said. “It’s not good when people throw you out.
“I will formally announce my retirement this week, after speaking with my family,” Anwar told a website.
Pakistan’s World Cup debacle has already led to coach Richard Pybus and vice-captain Inzamam-ul Haq stepping down from their posts.
Anwar’s decision may have been prompted by the common feeling among fans and critics that the seniors in the team failed to fire putting pressure on the younger lot and resulting in Pakistan’s first round exit from the World Cup.
Anwar, who holds the record for the highest score in one-day International cricket — 194 against india — returned home on Thursday after Pakistan’s failed World Cup campaign that included a defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India.
“I’m really contented because whatever I wanted from cricket I have achieved. We’ve been a tough unit and have won matches everywhere home and away,” said Anwar who has had 14 years of top international cricket.
Anwar said he was honoured to have played under Imran Khan in the early part of his career and with one-day cricket’s two most successful bowlers, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan’s current captain.
Saeed made his international debut in a one-day match in January 1989 against the West Indies, scoring three before being dismissed by fast bowler Malcolm Marshall. Overall, he is the sixth-most prolific one-day batsman with 8,823 runs at an average of 39.21 in 247 games.
In Tests, Anwar amassed 4,052 runs at 45.52, including 11 centuries. Anwar, who came into the World Cup without top-level cricket for five months and scored 101, his 20th one-day ton, in the match against India.
He scored an unbeaten 40 in a rained out game against Zimbabwe on Tuesday in what seems to have been his final match.
“I scored a hundred in my last Test against Bangladesh and I was hoping it wouldn’t keep raining against Zimbabwe so I would then have scored a century in my last one-day International also,” Anwar said in a lighter vein but added, “At least I was not out.”
The aggressive batsman said he had enjoyed playing against India and Australia the most. But now Anwar said he wanted to keep himself away from the game.
“I don’t want to be involved in cricket,” he said. “I’ve seen people in Pakistan who are hanging around in cricket and not having a good life.”
Anwar, who became deeply religious and sported a beard ever since his daughter died a couple of years ago, admitted that his priorities in life had changed over the last couple of years. “I now want to live a good religious life,” he said.