ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former cricketer Shoaib Akhtar announced on Saturday the Saudi authorities had invited him to perform “honorary Hajj,” adding he would also address a conference during his stay in the kingdom.
Akhtar, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup, was popular for his aggressive pace attack during his career.
His fans called him the “Rawalpindi Express” since he bowled at 100 miles per hour at least twice during his heydays.
“[G]oing for honorary Hajj as state guest of Saudi Arabia,” he said in a Twitter post with his pictures in Ihram clothing. “I will also be addressing the Hajj Conference attended by leaders of the Muslim world in Makkah.”
The Pakistani cricket star also expressed gratitude to the Saudi embassy in Islamabad.
The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah is a mandatory religious duty that needs to be carried out at least once in a lifetime by those Muslims who are physically and financially capable of it.
Saudi Arabia has decided to allow one million people join pilgrimage this year, expanding the ritual to participants from outside the kingdom after two years of tight COVID-19 restrictions.