October 31, 2014

Dubai: Legendary Pakistan pace bowler Wasim Akram wants Younis Khan’s bat to continue to do the talking. The veteran batsman was dropped from his team’s one-day squad for their whitewash by Australia in the UAE earlier this month, but has responded with three successive centuries as Pakistan have dominated the subsequent Test series.

And Akram, who was at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Academy in Dubai on Wednesday for a Twenty20-specific cricket camp organised by Azhar Mahmoud, said: “I can understand it can be very disappointing when you are dropped. The only suggestion I would give to Younis is that the only way to answer your critics is by letting the bat do the talking.”
Akram feels that Younis must be selected for next year’s 50-over World Cup because of his technical qualities.

Look at our past performances in Australia and our batting has always struggled in those conditions. Teams from the subcontinent will have problems if they do not have solid, technically correct and experienced batsmen in their side.

“In Twenty20s, you can get away with it, but in 50 overs you need to have players like Younis, more so now because we will be playing with two new balls,” added Akram, who was part of Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup-winning squad in Australia.

“I have said this before, and I will say it again, Younis’s experience is vital for Pakistan in One Day Internationals, and especially in the World Cup.” Akram, who now works as a commentator, felt that skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s decision to sit out the third ODI in Abu Dhabi was a mistake, but considers him the right man to lead the team at the World Cup.

“The captain dropping himself was a bit weird. Most senior players would say that if you think you are out of form, the best way is to play yourself back into it,” he said. “But Misbah seems to have done all right — he got a 50 in the Test match after that. Personally, I reckon he is the right man to lead Pakistan, at least until the end of the World Cup.

I know there are different opinions back home, but you can’t make everyone happy.” Though Akram was giving tips on how to play Twenty20 cricket while in Dubai, he believes Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game.

“If I have to judge the quality of a player, then that has to be Test cricket. You cannot see the quality in T20 because there is not enough time. Maybe one-day cricket you can judge to some extent.

“The ultimate format is Test cricket and that is where it matters. If you want to be a quality player, you have got to be a quality Test player whether you are a batsman or a bowler.” Akram believes that Twenty20 is bringing about a lot of changes to the game.

“Things are changing so fast with T20s. There was a time when you wanted to hit a boundary and then take a run. Now, you hit a boundary, and the next ball you want to hit an even bigger boundary. A lot of thought that needs to go into the T20 game. You can’t contain runs in T20s — the only way to stop a team is by taking wickets.

“This is the kind of thinking I have been telling the participants of the camp along with Azhar Mahmoud and Mudassar Nazar.”

Courtesy: GULF NEWS

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