Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman hangs up his boots

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LAHORE: Former Pakistan left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who along with teammate Saeed Ajmal famously stunned England during a 3-0 defeat in 2012, announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday. The 38-year-old took 19 wickets and Ajmal finished with 24 when Pakistan whitewashed the then-world number one Test team in United Arab Emirates six years ago in one of the finest performances of his career. However, Rehman said he was disheartened as of late after being ignored by national selectors. “I am announcing retirement from international cricket with a heavy heart,” Rehman told media here. “It was a tough decision but I have decided to call it a day.”

The 38-year-old made his one-day international (ODI) debut in 2006 against West Indies and played his first Test a year later against South Africa. In 2007, he made his first T20I appearance. Overall he represented Pakistan in 22 Tests, 31 ODIs and 11 T20Is. A wily spinner Rehman finished his 22 Test career just one short of a deserved hundred wicket mark, while he took 30 in 31 one-days and eight wickets in 11 Twenty20 internationals.

His last Test was in Sri Lanka in 2014 before the selectors began picking younger players in his place to form a new team. Rehman said dismantling the English batsmen in 2012 was his most memorable moment as a professional. “The partnership with Saeed was really great and I can’t ever forget that England series when we clean swept them,” said Rehman. “I played in World Cups, in T20s so am very grateful I managed all that,” said Rehman, who will continue playing first-class cricket in the country. “I’m sad I couldn’t get that 100th wicket, that would’ve really been something, but I’m still grateful for 99 wickets in 22 Tests. Very few left-arm spinners have that,” he added. Rehman’s reputation was also briefly hit by a 12-week ban after failing a drugs test during a stint with Somerset just a few months after his brilliant bowling against England in 2012.

“I wished that I could have played one more game to complete my century of wickets in Test cricket but now I believe that this is no longer possible,” said Rehman – who played his last Test for Pakistan in 2014 against Sri Lanka. “It was a tough call to make. Every cricketer has to make this decision in his career and my time has come, but I will continue to play domestic cricket and leagues.” Rehman also thanked former Pakistan cricketers Shahid Afridi and Misbahul Haq for their continued support throughout his career. “I’m taking this moment to sign off from international cricket. I thank all the teammates especially Afridi and Misbah for their support throughout my career,” he said. “It was an honour representing Pakistan and the love and respect I got in return was unexplainable.”

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