Pakistan great Wasim Akram has pulled out of the Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong Sixes this weekend. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) informed its local counterpart yesterday that Akram would not be able to take part as he has been called up for the tour of Zimbabwe which begins on Friday. 'It is a huge disappointment, not only for us, but also for the fans who were clearly looking forward to seeing Akram in action this weekend,' said Mike Walsh, Hong Kong Cricket Association chairman. Drawcard Akram, who spearheaded Pakistan to victory at last year's Hong Kong Sixes and also won the Player of the Tournament award, will be replaced by opening batsman Imran Nazir. Youngster Nazir has lost favour with the Pakistani selectors, who last weekend named separate squads - for the first time - for the month long tour of Zimbabwe during which Pakistan will play two Tests and five one-day internationals. Left-arm fast bowler Akram was picked only for the one-day squad. Akram, 36, has stated that he wishes to step down from international cricket after playing in next year's World Cup in South Africa. Akram is the only bowler in the world to have taken more than 400 wickets in both forms of the game. He has 414 Test wickets and 479 one-day scalps. 'I believe that Akram was under great pressure from the PCB not to play in Hong Kong. But the opposition will be happy that he won't be around. They won't have to bring their steel toe-capped boots now,' said Walsh. Eight teams will take part in the Sixes on Saturday and Sunday at the Kowloon Cricket Club. Pakistan, England, Australia and Hong Kong are in one pool, while the other comprises South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and the United Arab Emirates. The top two teams in each pool after the preliminary round robin competition will enter the Cup semi-finals. Akram's absence was half-expected. Last week PCB chairman Tauqir Zia had a long discussion with the veteran, one of a number of top players who did not play in the disastrous series against Australia. It is believed that Zia had asked Akram to keep contributing to the fortunes of the national team. Pakistan were humiliated by Australia, losing the Test series 3-0. They lost by 41 runs in Colombo and then lost both the following Tests in Sharjah by an innings and 198 runs, and an innings and 20 runs respectively. In the Second Test, they were bowled out for 59 and 53. The selectors, led by former wicketkeeper Wasim Bari, kept faith in Waqar Younis as captain but wielded the axe by dropping youngsters Nazir and Imran Farhat while veteran opener Saeed Anwar, who did not play against Australia, was ignored. But Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana won recalls and will boost the middle order. Even though the one-day series will commence only in mid-November, the PCB informed the HKCA that Akram wouldn't be available for Hong Kong. 'It is sad. But the whole country is in uproar after the poor series against Australia and I think the PCB decided it was best not to send Akram here,' said Walsh. 'When we picked the dates of the Hong Kong Sixes this year, there were zero events on the world calendar. But the whole calendar has been revamped now,' added Walsh. Meanwhile, the news that Australian Mark Waugh has retired from Test cricket after being omitted from the Ashes squad has prompted organisers to think about inviting him this weekend. 'I will send him an e-mail. He would be more than welcome here,' said Walsh.