My cricket career has come full circle: Zaheer Abbas

Pakistan’s legendary batsman takes up ICC presidency mantle


Nabeel Hashmi June 26, 2015
Zaheer is the only Pakistani batsman to complete a century of centuries in first-class cricket. PHOTO COURTESY: ICC

KARACHI: Pakistan’s legendary batsman Zaheer Abbas, the first iconic cricketer in the world to be entrusted with the post of International Cricket Council (ICC) president, said it was a proud moment for him to assume the role following meetings in Barbados.

The 67-year-old, known as the ‘Asian Don Bradman’, scored 5,062 runs in his illustrious 78-Test career at an average of 44.79 with the help of 12 hundreds and 20 half-centuries.

Asked by The Express Tribune to comment on his journey from playing in the streets to his rise to stardom and now playing an important part in the world governing body, Zaheer said, “I think that my cricket career has come full circle. It’s an exceptionally proud moment and a great honour to be a figurehead in the ICC.”

Read: Zaheer Abbas named new ICC president

His 2,572 runs in just 62 ODIs — with an impressive average of 47.62 — sums up a successful limited-overs career. What made him different from others was his prolific strike-rate of 84.80 at a time when the 50-over format was evolving as he hit seven centuries and 13 half-centuries.

“The respect I received in the meeting was unbelievable as everyone was calling me Mr President,” added Zaheer. “These are the moments to be cherished. When you have done so much for the game and you are given back so much, it becomes a source of complete satisfaction. I would reiterate that whatever and wherever I am now is because of my country and my fans.”

The elegant stroke player is the only Pakistani batsman to complete a century of centuries in first-class cricket, scoring 108 of them and amassing 34,842 runs in 459 matches while playing in Pakistan and the UK.

“Not even a single member voted against me after Najam Sethi withdrew his name and everyone happily accepted me,” said Zaheer.

Read: No international cricket hurting Pakistan players: Zaheer Abbas

“It was a great gesture from Sethi to withdraw his name and allow an iconic cricketer from Pakistan to become the ICC president. I would like to thank him and the Pakistan Cricket Board for believing in me for this role.”

It should be mentioned here that ICC had decided to bring in only iconic cricketers as an ICC president from next year, but Sethi urged them to go ahead with the rule from 2015.

Sethi stated that he was the happiest man in the world with Zaheer taking charge as ICC president. “Today I’m the happiest person for two reasons: firstly, Zaheer is my favourite cricketer and hero in his playing days and secondly, I played a small part in his nomination after withdrawing my name,” said Sethi.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.

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