Akram, Akhtar to return to Pakistan over security concerns

Chennai, Oct 20 (IANS) Former Pakistani pace greats Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who are currently in India for their commentary commitments with a television sports channel, will return to Pakistan and won’t be here for the last One-Day International (ODI) between the hosts and South Africa.

The development comes a day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) was forced to withdraw Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the remaining two matches in the ongoing five-match ODI series, reports ESPNcricinfo.

Dar, who is a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, officiated in the first three ODIs and was also scheduled to umpire the next two in Chennai and Mumbai on October 22 and 25.

Dar’s withdrawal came after around 70 Shiv Sena activists stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office in Mumbai on Monday. They protested in front of BCCI president Shashank Manohar, asking him not to resume cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.

Manohar was supposed to meet Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan on Monday to discuss a proposed India-Pakistan series in December. The Shiv Sena activists shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and demanded the cancellation of the series.

Akhtar and Akram have pulled out over security concerns and will fly back to their country on Friday. Akram’s agent Arsalan Haider confirmed that the pair would commentate in the fourth ODI here and return on October 23, two days before the Mumbai ODI.

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