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If they have Akmal, we have Ronchi: Waqar Younis

Updated March 24, 2018

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JP Duminy, Waqar Younis talk — Photo by author
JP Duminy, Waqar Younis talk — Photo by author

Islamabad United coach Waqar Younis has declared that his side are not overly concerned with containing Peshawar Zalmi's 'red-hot' batsman Kamran Akmal in Sunday's Pakistan Super League 2018 final at National Stadium Karachi.

The veteran Zalmi opener is in the form of his life and currently leads the PSL 2018 run chart. But Younis believes anything Akmal can do, Luke Ronchi can do just as well for United, cancelling out any edge at the top of the order for either side.

"If Kamran Akmal is in red-hot form then Luke Ronchi is too," said the United coach in Saturday's pre-match presser.

He agreed that the elder Akmal deserves being made national captain Sarfraz Ahmed's understudy, but doesn't think the two can play together due to Akmal's deficiencies in the outfield.

"Kamran Akmal has been performing for several years now," he said. "It's unfortunate for him that he has the same role as the Pakistan captain, who obviously is irreplaceable. The only thing you can do is maybe take him (Kamran Akmal) as a backup.

"You can keep him in the team but of course you can’t remove the captain and as a fielder, I doubt Akmal can play."

Younis believes the conditions at National Stadium Karachi are conducive to high-scoring cricket and if it remains that way the fans will get to see a run-fest on Sunday.

"As far as the pitch is concerned, it looks great," he said. "International cricket hasn’t taken place here in ages but domestic cricket matches tell us that teams make heavy scores here, especially due to shorter boundaries, which are the same as they were in Dubai and Sharjah.

"The weather is also great and if it remains that way then I’m hopeful that this would be a high-scoring game."

But United coach was not too hopeful of captain Misbahul Haq taking any part in the final due to his injury.

"We will assess Misbah’s fitness one last time tonight," he said. "It seems as if it’d be difficult for him [to play]."

But one batsman who is certain to play and expected to play a starring role in the final is the young Hussain Talat and Asif Ali, both of who have impressed mightily in the tournament.

"Hussain Talat is a very talented kid; we saw him in this PSL as well as the last one," said Younis. "He has won us some games, the credit of which goes to Islamabad United for nurturing him and inducting him into the side.

"Both of them (Talat and Asif Ali) are very talented kids. If they make it to the Pakistan squad it will be a great achievement for them as well as Islamabad United."

Sat alongside Younis in the presser was JP Duminy, who was asked if he is fazed by the state-level security provided to PSL teams. His answer was in the negative.

"No, not at all," the South African said. "Yes, it’s a unique situation but we cherish this opportunity to not just play in Pakistan but also in a PSL final."