Abdul Razzaq takes back retirement decision

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Abdul Razzaq has taken back his decision to retire from international cricket and is available once again to represent Pakistan. The allrounder's decision comes after discussions with his local club and long-time coach.

"I have reversed my decision and am available for Pakistan once again,"

Razzaq said.

"I have had many discussions with P&T Gymkhana and my coach, Azhar Zaidi, and we felt it was better if I took back my original decision. Maybe I made that in the heat of the moment."

Razzaq announced his retirement from international cricket in August, in protest at being ignored by the selectors in the squad for the ICC World Twenty20. He accused the selection committee and the board of not treating him with enough respect and dropping him for matters other than his form. The selectors maintained that he was still in their plans for ODI and Test cricket, though his form in those formats has been unconvincing over the last year or so. In his last 15 ODIs, he averages 17.30 and has taken only 12 wickets.

Three fifties and 38 wickets in his last 15 Tests have also done nothing to help his cause, though injuries have hardly helped the process. He missed the Test series against South Africa late last year and the World Cup in the West Indies subsequently. In 2005, he also missed the home series against England with an elbow injury.

Razzaq now plans to take part in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam trophy for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL). The doors back to international cricket will not open immediately, however. Salahuddin Ahmed, chief selector, said Razzaq would need to show that he was back to his bristling best.

"Let him play first-class matches first and prove his form and fitness there. After that, the doors are always open for every first-class cricketer in the country,"

Salahuddin said.

And further obstacles may exist in the form of the Indian Cricket League (ICL). Razzaq was one of four Pakistani players to sign up for the league and the Pakistan board still maintains that anyone who does turn out in the ICL will not represent Pakistan.

Mohammad Yousuf, another player to sign for the ICL, was convinced by the board to opt for Pakistan instead, though no similar efforts were made with Razzaq. The league has threatened legal action against Yousuf. Razzaq says, however, he will wait and see how matters develop before deciding on a course of action as far as his contract with the ICL is concerned.

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