Cricket: Smethwick must wait for Wasim

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The Independent Online
WASIM AKRAM'S hopes of playing for Smethwick have been thrown into doubt because he has not been registered with the Birmingham League.

The Pakistan captain, who picked up a loser's medal in Sunday's World Cup final, signed a two-year contract with Smethwick in January, and was hoping to make his debut either this weekend - against West Bromwich Dartmouth - or on 3 July against Stratford.

After Sunday's loss Wasim explained why he was joining Smethwick. "I always wonder why there are so many talented players in Pakistan and India and why you don't see that same talent among those living in England," he said. "Maybe they need a role model to coach them, to tell them that they are good players or to let people know about them. That's the main reason for me going to Birmingham."

Shane Warne has reopened the door to playing county cricket. The leg- spinner has been linked with several counties in the past but decided against taking up any of the reported offers. Earlier this week he hinted at taking a rest from the game, but yesterday he said he wants to play in England next summer.

"I have spoken to two counties and, although there isn't an offer in writing, I am optimistic that something will materialise.

"It is down to my manager and one of the counties to arrange a package that I'm happy with. Playing county cricket has been a serious ambition since I came to play for a club team in Bristol in 1989."

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