Waqar Younis talks to team members during a practice session in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.—AP/File

LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team’s head coach Waqar Younis, while putting his weight behind ageing captain Misbah-ul-Haq advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to groom a young skipper for the 2015 World Cup.

In his recent report on the players’ abilities submitted to the Board, Waqar praised Misbah as a player and a mature captain. “I have to give full credit to Misbah as he has stabilised the team and leads from the front.

“His performance is also outstanding. He makes the boys feel comfortable and relaxed so they actually enjoy their cricket. He is mature and willing to listen.”

However, Waqar added: “The only unfortunate thing is the age factor which is not in Misbah’s favour. On that account, I don’t think he would be able to lead the side in the next World Cup (2015), and therefore, I would advise that we should start grooming a young captain from now.”

Misbah in a recent chat with Dawn, had said that he would continue to play until he was fit and and playing well. So he would not focus on the age factor because no one could predict as to what will happen tomorrow.

About seasoned middle-order batsman Younis Khan, coach Waqar said his presence in the team was had a positive effect and helped the youngsters mingle well.

“It was quite unfortunate that he had to leave the squad on the West Indies tour and returned home due to his brother’s death,” wrote Waqar about Younis. “He was missed on the tour because he is one of the key players in the batting line-up.”

About opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez, the coach observed: “Hafeez has been exceptional, both with the ball and the bat. He was timing the ball sweetly and worked with the game plan when bowling. He is now taking responsibility as a senior member of the team.”

Similarly, about the two spinners –– Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman –– Waqar remarked: “Both are very good boys. They really try their best all the time.

They listen to advice and work to improve themselves. They are reliable and are developing into match-winners.”

Moreover, the coach seemed positive about the upcoming medium-fast bowler Wahab Riaz and middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq, noting that both had an average tour, but they are young and hungry for success so they would continue to improve with the passage of time.

Waqar also praised Azhar Ali, arguing that he is a very good find for the Test matches and he had been faring better over the last year and had also proved that he could be a good one-day player.

In his report, the coach argued that middle-order batsman Umar Akmal helped chip in with his aggressive style of batting and was improving day by day.

About a new little-known all-rounder Hammad Azam, the coach said he was still very young, but had the capabilities to excel in the one-day game.

Pressing ahead with his report, the coach noted that Mohammad Salman is a good wicket-keeper, though he still seems a little nervous. “But that should be overcome with more exposure and being a regular member of the team,” he concludes.

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