KARACHI: Former captain and all-rounder Wasim Akram on Thursday said he was perfectly aware of his country’s international and domestic cricket scene and it was chief selector Mohsin Khan who required to do his homework on the various issues confronting Pakistan cricket.
“I am a cricket fanatic and even when I am away I keep a constant eye on Pakistan’s international and domestic cricket,” said Wasim while speaking to Dawn on Thursday.
“It needs just a few clicks on the internet to keep yourself abreast with the cricket around the world. I am, in fact, surprised by Mohsin’s outburst because the media has criticised him often for not attending domestic matches, even in his own city, Karachi.”
Referring to his earlier statement regarding Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul’s inclusion for Zimbabwe tour, Wasim said: “My suggestion of not to rest Wahab was based on wisdom. He is a fine fast bowler who is improving in leaps and bounds but is wasting his energy in the Twenty20 cricket in England. And now, when the real Test starts in Zimbabwe, he is rested. That does not make much sense.”
Backing up his arguments with facts and figures, Wasim said: “It is Mohsin who is wide off the mark when he says that Wahab, Umar Gul and Abdur Rehman have played too much cricket. To keep his facts right, Wahab has played just four Tests, 13 ODIs and only one Twenty20 this year, while Gul has played three Tests and 15 ODIs. This is normal cricket and they don’t really need rest after this.
“Playing without your key fast bowlers would risk any upset in Zimbabwe who have recently beaten Bangladesh in a Test match. And, mind you, they are a better one-day side.”
Wasim also criticised Mohsin for his inconsistent selection which he said was evident by the frequent changes made for the last few tours.
“How can Mohsin talk of consistency? Is playing four separate wicket-keepers in the last one year consistency. If Kamran Akmal is not played due to any reason other than cricket, there is no second opinion that Sarfraz Ahmed is the best glovesman in the country,” argued Wasim.
“Why was Adnan Akmal selected ahead of Sarfraz for the UAE series last year and why couldn’t Sarfraz be recalled from the West Indies where he was playing for Pakistan ‘A’?
“Then, when Adnan gave a superb performance in Tests in New Zealand, why was he dropped for the West Indies tour and Mohammad Salman was given a chance. Now the selectors have again recalled Adnan. Is this consistency?”
Wasim pointed out that while batsman Usman Salahuddin and fast bowler Sadaf Hussain were selected for the West Indies tour, primarily because they were the best performers in domestic cricket, they were not in the team anymore.
“Usman got just two one-day matches and being a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy performer, he was sent back home before the Test series. Poor Sadaf Hussain, with 69 wickets in the season, was a mere passenger on the West Indies trip,” said Wasim.
“Hamad Azam was praised as a replacement for Abdul Razzaq and after a good showing in the West Indies, he is among the reserves for the Zimbabwe tour! Similarly, anyone among left-arm spinner Raza Hassan or Zulfiqar Babar could have replaced Abdur Rehman, but right-arm leg-spinner Yasir Shah is selected out of the blue. This is no consistency.”
Reacting on Mohsin’s jibe regarding him not serving Pakistan cricket, Wasim said: “I am proud that I am used by India and they do so with a lot of respect. I have been praised as an ambassador between Pakistan and India and I will continue to do so.
I have always spoken for the revival of Indo-Pak series and my views are taken seriously.
“Moreover, when Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed — both great fast bowlers — are involved in team’s coaching its unwise that I poke my nose in their work. But whenever they call me for help I’m available.
“I have always respected Mohsin as a player and a senior colleague, but I am entitled to my opinion, which will always be honest.”
Source: Wasim Akram Speaks to Dawn Newspaper