Razzaq quits in protest

Monday, August 20, 2007

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq announced his retirement from international cricket Monday, saying he had taken his decision in protest at his omission from the Pakistan national team.

"I have taken this decision under protest because I am mentally disturbed over the treatment meted out by the selectors who dropped me like a new player," Razzaq told a private television channel from London.

"I will see the response of the selectors and the Pakistan Cricket Board before reviewing my decision because this is taken under protest."

Razzaq, who was in England to sign a short contract with Worcestershire county on Monday, was dropped from Pakistan's 15-man squad for next month's inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

The selectors said Razzaq and senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf would be rested -- a reason Razzaq said he believed was a pretext for him being dropped from the side.

"I was hurt when they dropped me, and on form and fitness and on my record as an international player, I deserved the benefit" of being treated as a senior player, said Razzaq.

Razzaq missed the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year because of a knee injury.

He has scored 1,146 runs and took 100 wickets in 46 Tests. He made 4,465 runs and took 240 wickets in 231 one-day internationals in a career which began in 1995.

Razzaq's lacklustre performance in his last 15 one-day internationals -- scoring just 173 at 10.73 with 12 wickets at 39 runs each -- led to his axing from the team.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed dismissed suggestions that Razzaq had been elbowed out of international cricket.

"There was no victimisation. The team for the Twenty20 World Cup was picked purely on merit and the best players were selected," said Ahmed.

"Razzaq's omission does not mean an end to his international career and we hope he would reconsider his decision."

Razzaq, who is among eight Pakistani players offered lucrative contracts by a breakaway Indian league, said his decision was not linked to rebel cricket.

"I have not signed any deal with the Indian league but if I get the same treatment from my own people, I might be forced to join the league, but my decision to retire has nothing to do with the Indian league," he said.

Former captain Inzamamul Haq leads the pack who are considering signing with the multi-million-dollar Indian league being bankrolled by that country's largest media group, which owns the Zee television channel.

Others set to join the league are opener Imran Farhat, Yousuf and Moin Khan.

Pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif turned down initial approaches.

Razzaq, who also did not sign a central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said he had received no word from the sport's governing body since he was dropped.

"No official from the PCB has contacted me. I am still waiting for any official to talk to me but no one has yet bothered," he said.

Worcestershire signed Razzaq as a replacement overseas player for the remainder of the 2007 season following the return of Phil Jaques and Doug Bollinger to Australia for their 'A' team tour of Pakistan.

Razzaq arrived in Worcester on Sunday and was to join the squad for training Monday before the team travel to Canterbury for the county championship match against Kent, which starts Tuesday.

The all-rounder previously played English county cricket for Middlesex in 2002 and 2003.

"It has been very difficult to find quality replacement overseas players because of the forthcoming Twenty20 Cup World Championships and Abdul's availability has come at just the right time," said Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton.

"He will certainly give us the quality and experience we need during the last few weeks of the season, particularly in the Pro40 competition.

"We have received clearance from the Pakistan Cricket Board but still need to complete the registration procedures with the ECB."