ISLAMABAD: Former skipper Wasim Akram has hailed Pakistan’s remarkable win in one-off Twenty20 International against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday as a ‘good omen’ for Pakistan cricket.
Talking to a private TV channel after Pakistan’s nine-wicket win, the pace bowling icon said that it was good to see Pakistan showcasing perfection in all departments of the game.
“Pakistan outclassed England in all departments of the game, it was great to see them playing with proper plan and the energy they exhibited in the field was outstanding which helped them throughout the match,” Wasim said.
“England have a very good sign with Adil Rashid who has 10 first-class centuries to his credit coming at number 11, and to restrict such team to small total as 135 was actually good work done by Pakistani bowlers,” he said.
Wasim said that the way Pakistan fought back after struggling in four ODIs was remarkable and the performances made him excited in the commentary box. The former captain added that the coach and captain deserve credit for motivating players after a not-so-good start of the limited-overs leg of the tour.
“I was equally excited as anyone else was, I was disappointed by the ODI loss, but this one excited me. It was good to see Pakistan playing good in all departments, a good sign,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction with Pakistan’s progress, saying that the way Pakistan played the T20 game at Manchester showed that the team was adopting the requirements of modern cricket.
“Pakistan played fearless cricket and showed what they’re capable of,” he said. “We must allow players to express themselves freely, without any fear of being dropped after couple of innings.”
Wasim further agreed with the observation that Pakistan was gradually coming back on the track, but insisted that the selection committee should work on back up players as well if they wanted to remain on track with consistency.
“It is now up to Inzamam and his team to work on finding back-up. For Sarfraz we have Rizwan, similarly we need back-ups for the likes of Sharjeel, Imad, Amir, Wahab in case of any injury to these players,” he said.
“We need to organise ‘A’ team’s tours to countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa where youngsters would learn to play in difficult conditions. A team’s tour to Zimbabwe will not help Pakistan’s cause to prepare the back-up,” Wasim added.
The former captain praised Sarfraz for the controlled captaincy in his first match as Pakistan’s T20 captain, but said that it was not the right time to remove Azhar Ali from ODI captaincy.
“Sarfraz showed quality of a good captain, he was calm and remained in control. He never seemed to panic. He made bowling changes very well,” he commented.
“But I don’t think that Azhar should be removed and it is too early for Sarfraz to replace him, let Sarfraz and Azhar continue with what they’re doing. Judge them after the West Indies series.”
Summing up the England tour, Wasim said that overall it was a successful trip by Pakistan since the team had been outstanding on and off the field and deserved to be congratulated for their exemplary behaviour.
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2016