July 11, 2011

On Saturday night, the legend Wasim Akram was in town and headed a list of well-known cricketers and dignitaries for the Islamic Relief Charity Dinner in aid for Pakistan.

Held in the plush surroundings of Kensington, London and with seats going for up to £150, it seemed quite clearly marketed towards the Pakistani Diaspora in London who belonged to the higher end of the income ladder.

Before the dinner began there was an opening press conference – held exclusively for the media. The event itself had a very good turn-out not only from Pakistani cricketers, amongst them being Wahab Riaz, Yasar Arafat, Azhar Mahmood, Saeed Ajmal. In addition, non-Pakistani crickets Muralitheran, Mark Ramparkash and Rob Key gave a wider appeal to the evening.

The Q&A session proved to be quite interesting – when Wasim Akram was asked about comments by Ijaz Butt about him having too much time to coach Indian bowlers (reference to Kolkota Knight Riders) – Wasim said in a stern voice that he thought that Ijaz Butt had far too much time on his hands and that in the past he has been offered many times to coach Pakistani bowlers when he was available, free of charge but has never taken up on the offer.

He also mentioned that he would like to focus on spending time with his children, even more so since his wife passed away – which may stop him taking a very time consuming role and definitely ruled out a political career like his role model, Imran Khan.

Amongst other questions – Murali was asked to name the most difficult batsmen he’s come up against in his career. He promptly named him as Brian Lara, which was met by a groan by the guests! Its not quite clear if everyone there was expecting him to name a Pakistani cricketer to fit in with the occasion – at the least, one cannot doubt the honesty behind that reply!

The night wouldn’t be complete without a bit of song and dance and whilst there wasn’t much dancing there was Salman Ahmad of Junoon present to provide the songs, accompanied by none other than the legendary Wasim Akram as well as other cricketers on stage.

Courtesy: www.pakpassion.net


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