LONDON: Wasim Akram, the world famous swing bowling icon and former captain of Pakistan cricket team, has praised Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq for bringing positive change to Pakistani team by changing his one-day game as well as attitude towards it.
Speaking exclusively to Geo News after Pakistan beat South Africa at a warm up match here at the Oval, the Sultan of Swing said that the West Indies cricket team is the real danger in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy 2013 matches.
Akram was surprised that no one talked about the danger posed to all teams by the brilliant players such as Kieron Pollard, Chris Gale, Dwayne Bravo, and others in the team. “They have brilliant wicket taking bowlers. They have more one-day experience. It will be very interesting to see how the West Indian side plays,” Akram said.
Wasim Akram was of praise for the unity shown by the team at the Oval. He said that Pakistan had struggled in South Africa during a recent tour but it was because of the gross and the totally different conditions. “It was also because we are poor in test matches. But in one-day game, we gave South Africa tough time,” he said, answering a question what made the difference between then and the match Pakistan played on Monday at The Oval that outclassed South Africa in all departments.
“I really liked the way Pakistan played at The Oval. The main bowlers were rested but Junaid, Wahab, Ahsan Adil and Asad played brilliantly. From the first ball, the body language was good. The attitude was right. South Africa looked dead. Pakistani team chased well and but I was scared that Pakistan gets under pressure when chasing and when wickets fall.”
Wasim Akram said that there is “no issue” with Pakistan’s bowling but the problem is in the batting area. “The plan is that Imran Farhat will play as an anchor and will play as a test cricketer to last for 40 hours or so and the boys around him will play as they are in good forms and can play their game. Pakistani batting goes under pressure if there is an issue with the openers going down quickly.”
Akram said that Wahab Riaz was crucial in getting Pakistan win the match against Ireland but Kamran Akmal also did well. “I have told Wahab to take batting seriously. I told him that if you are dropped as a bowler you will be taken as a batsman. If he improves then Pakistan’s batting combination will improve tremendously.
When asked if Indian side will be under pressure due to the explosive IPL scandal involving many big names of the cricket world, Wasim Akram said that in such situation players normally don’t admit that they are under pressure but such situations does have affects. “Media here is not doing anything about the IPL. There are no breaking news every two minutes here and players don’t feel pressured.”
Wasim Akram turned 47 on Monday. He told The News that he missed his wife Huma very much on this occasion. “First of all I want to thank everyone who has wished me. I miss my wife a lot. My sons miss her too. I have lived a very successful life and it’s only due to the prayers of Pakistanis that I am at this stage. I pray that my country Pakistan does good. I want Pakistan to see progressing.”