haseeb ahsan, pakistan cricket, pakistan cricket board, pcb, haseeb ahsan wasim akram
Haseeb Ahsan. -Photo courtesy PCB

KARACHI: Former Pakistan off-spinner and selector Haseeb Ahsan, credited with picking legend Wasim Akram in 1984, died Friday after prolonged illness, a family friend said. He was 73.

Ahsan was regarded as one of the most straight-forward cricket administrators, and headed Pakistan's World Cup 1987 organising committee and served as a national team manager.

Karachi City Cricket Association president Sirajul Islam Bukhari confirmed Ahsan died early Friday in the city.

“Ahsan fought illness with courage,” said Bukhari of Ahsan who was on dialysis for the last two years.

“He served the game well and was particularly supportive of cricket in Karachi.”

Ahsan played 12 Tests between 1958-62 and was a member of the Pakistan team on its first tour to the West Indies in 1958. He made his debut at Bridgetown where his old friend Hanif Mohammad scored 337 -- still Pakistan's highest Test score.

Former Pakistan captain and legendary paceman Wasim Akram said it was Ahsan who selected him for the first time in 1984.

“As the chief selector, Ahsan convinced everyone of my talent and selected me against New Zealand,” Wasim told AFP.

“He was very close to me and as a powerful selector he spotted young talent and threw them in the bigger battles.

“I have lost a very close supporter and it's a great loss for Pakistan cricket,” said Wasim.

Pakistan Cricekt Board chairman Zaka Ashraf paid tribute to Ahsan:

“Haseeb was not only a superb Test cricketer but also was a good administrator who intimately knew the game. His death is a loss to the cricketing fraternity.”

Ahsan scored 61 runs and picked 27 wickets in his brief career, hit by bowling action controversy.

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