September 23, 2011

Former Pakistan skipper slam’s maverick all-rounder’s whimsical tactics after Waqar Younis‘ exit as coach.

They were brothers-in-arm during the peak of their bowling careers. Wasim Akram seemingly respects that relationship with former new ball partner Waqar Younis. In an exclusive chat with Mobile ESPN from Hyderabad on Thursday, Akram is not amused with Shahid Afridi’s comments that he wants to play for Pakistan again since Younis has resigned as coach.

Shahid Afridi is making things too complicated for the Pakistan Cricket Board. Cricket is a team game and not an individual sport. You have to treat the interests of the team and the management above your individual preferences. So I think Afridi should decide once and for all whether he wants to retire or not,” said Akram.

Afridi has made a mockery of the word “resign.” After being appointed Test captain in 2010, the all-rounder quit after just one match, citing lack of form and ability to play the longest format. He also led Pakistan to the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup but was soon replaced as captain (by Misbah-ul-Haq). Afridi then announced his conditional retirement citing differences with Younis (coach). Akram feels it’s all becoming a joke.

“His (Afridi’s) retirement has become a joke now. You can’t play cricket on your own terms. You will have difference with your coaches, with your chairman and with your colleagues but it should not show in your outlook. At the end of the day you are representing your nation – Pakistan,” said Akram.

Pakistan embark on a new challenge when they take on Sri Lanka in a three-Test series starting October 18 in the UAE. The PCB has declared that the new coach will be finalized on September 29 and Akram feels the team’s performance depends a lot on the selection.

“The first challenge for Pakistan would be to find a new coach. It’s important to find the right man for the job. Does he gel well with the players? What combination does he form? All these questions will decide the fate of Pakistan cricket,” said Akram.

Pakistan swept the recently concluded one-off Test, three ODIs and the two T20 matches against Zimbabwe and are looking forward to the Lankan test. Akram feels Pakistan have a good chance in UAE.

“Pakistan team has an abundance of talented players so they have no problem on that front. Sri Lanka, without Muttiah Muralitharan, are not the same side. Australia got the better of them on their home ground. It will be a tough series but Pakistan will do well against Lanka,” said Akram.

Even though the wickets in UAE are flat, Akram believes that Pakistan should bank on the pace and experience of Umar Gul and movement of left-armer Wahab Riaz.

“You got to play Gul and Wahab. Give the youngsters a chance but keep the experience with you. Rookie pacer Aizaz Cheema bowled well against Zimbabwe and he should be retained. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are flat wickets with dry weather, so reverse swing will come into effect,” concluded the Sultan of Swing.

Courtesy: ESPN STAR

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