Pakistani legend Wasim Akram is the latest big name to put his hand up to be involved in cricket’s bushfire appeal match.
Australian greats Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne will captain opposing teams in the Big Bushfire Bash on February 8. The pair are attempting to recruit icons from sport, movies and music to join their star-studded sides.
Akram, 53, says he hasn’t received a call-up yet, but he is open to do anything he can to help.
“I would love to be involved in any way I can to raise funds or to help the people in Australia,” Akram told AAP.
“Before I was married to an Australian, Australia has always been very close to my heart.
“I feel for Australia; thank God there was rain in the last couple of days and hopefully that will help.
“The devastation the Australians have been through, my heart goes out to them.”
Australia coach Justin Langer and fellow former national team stars Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Alex Blackwell and Michael Clarke are already confirmed starters for the game. Steve Waugh and former Australian women’s ace Mel Jones will have non-playing roles in the game.
Fellow cricket legends Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni are on the wishlist, but Akram’s involvement would be a huge drawcard.
The former left-arm quick took 414 wickets in 104 Tests between 1985 and 2002 to etch his name as one of Pakistan’s greatest cricketers.
He wasn’t far off claiming 1000 international wickets, also taking 502 in ODIs.
Akram even has Warne covered in online popularity, having more than five million Twitter followers to the legspinner’s 3.5 million.
Proceeds from next month’s match, as well as the Big Bash final and women’s Twenty20 between Australia and India on the same day, will go to the Red Cross.
Akram attended training at AFL club St Kilda on Monday morning, signing a cricket bat which will be auctioned off on the Saints’ website to raise funds for bushfire relief.
“I married a Melbourne girl, a St Kilda girl. I called my father-in-law about eight years ago to ask permission to marry her,” Akram said.
“He said ‘only one condition … you have to follow St Kilda’.”