RAIN washed out the second day's play in the final Test between South Africa and Pakistan at Port Elizabeth, but there was plenty of interest off the field.
Wasim Akram, who arrived here on the eve of the Test, was continuing his private chats to secure the support of senior players after reports that the former Pakistan captain was not wanted on the tour, despite being cleared of bribery allegations at home.
Meanwhile South African swing bowler Fanie de Villiers announced his retirement at the end of this match and off-spinner Pat Symcox is also contemplating stepping down.
Wasim's old friends and team-mates, like Ijaz Ahmed, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed, all assured him of their loyalty. ``Word reached me that some of the side didn't want me here,'' said Wasim. ``I wanted to know the truth but I found no resentment. They said that since I had been cleared back home there was no reason I shouldn't play.''
Wasim arrived at a sensitive time on a tour dogged by controversy. Aamir Sohail, who led Pakistan to victory in the second Durban Test, had just been forced to hand over to Rashid Latif and there was friction within the side.
Because of the allegations, Wasim, the Lancashire captain, has not played since mid-December and admits he is not yet match fit. After spending the opening day in the field here and taking one wicket, he was feeling ``stiff in the extreme'' and thankful for the rain which left South Africa at 262 for seven.
De Villiers, 33, has played 17 Tests and taken 77 wickets at 26.17 while Symcox, 37, scored his only Test century in the first game of this three-match series but has since been omitted.
Both men denied their thinking has been influenced by the disciplinary hearing they face following allegations of racial abuse towards spectators in the second Test.
South African wicket-keeper Mark Boucher caught two youths running away from the Test ground after they had ransacked the home dressing room.