ACC awards Akram
Former national skipper Akram Khan received the Asian Cricket Legend Award-Bangladesh on the inaugural Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Awards night held at Mahata Palace in Karachi on Saturday evening.
Regarded as one of the best and most influential batsmen in the country, Akram played eight Test matches and struck five half-centuries in 44 one-day internationals before retiring from international cricket in May 2003.
Akram's greatest legacy in Bangladesh cricket remains his match-winning 68 against Holland in an ICC Trophy match in 1997 when all seemed lost. Chasing 141 from 33 overs, Bangladesh lost their top-order for just 13 runs when Akram, the then skipper, played diligently in the successful chase.
That win took Bangladesh into the semifinals of the competition and the eventual ICC Trophy triumph ensured that they obtained the ODI and Test status.
Akram began his career in the early 1980s playing for Bangladesh Railways before moving on to giants Abahani and then ended his club career with Old DOHS in the 2006-07 season.
He was touring Pakistan as a national selector with the Bangladesh team when he received the award.
Former India and Pakistan captains Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan were also honoured with special awards in the same category for both their respective countries.
But the night belonged mainly to Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who was named the best Asian one-day batsman, and three Sri Lankans.
Tendulkar, who is recovering from a groin injury, could not make it to the ceremony and India ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni collected the award on his behalf.
The three Lankans who walked away with top awards were wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara (Best Asian Test batsman), spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and Farveez Maharoof who were named the best Asian Test and ODI bowlers respectively.
The ACC also gave away a special award of 'best administrator' to Colonel (retd) Nur Khan, former president of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who played a significant role in forming the ACC.
The septuagenarian Nur Khan who took his award from former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga got a standing ovation from the gathering at the ceremony.
Khan, who had also remained president of Pakistan Hockey and Squash Federations, is credited of playing a big role in promoting Pakistan and Indian cricket at the world level and also producing a lineage of great sportsmen.
ACC CEO Syed Ashraful Huq, who was also the former general secretary of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), was awarded for lifetime achievement in cricket administration.
PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf, who took over as ACC president, said the awards were meant to honour and recognise the outstanding performers of the continent.
"Our sportsmen need to be recognised and rewarded for their achievements specially when Asia has now become a powerhouse in world cricket," he said.