KARACHI: Amid a fast-bowling crisis plaguing the national team, pace legend Wasim Akram will start a rescue mission to help the country’s bowlers.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) signed a MoU with Ufone under which the cellular company will invest in the country’s talent to provide opportunities for the development and growth of young Pakistani fast-bowlers.
The legendary former captain, also a brand ambassador of the cellular company, will supervise the programme that also includes a countrywide talent hunt besides a camp for country’s top fast bowlers in Karachi.
In the first phase, weeklong trials will be carried out in almost 10 cities to hunt budding bowlers.
Three outstanding bowlers will then be picked to join the training camp at the National Stadium where over a dozen of the country’s current top fast-bowlers including Umar Gul, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan will take part.
“I always wanted to work with Pakistan’s pacers,” said Wasim after the MoU signing ceremony in Lahore yesterday. “I am glad that things have finally been tied and I am looking to associate with my country’s lot for a longer period.”
Tests focus for Wasim
Wasim said he will also attend the team’s training camp in Abbottabad that will be set up for the ICC Champions Trophy from May 3.
“My main task will be to improve their performance in Tests. Fast-bowlers can get wickets in limited-overs cricket but it is always difficult in the longer version in which they need to trap the batsmen.
“I saw Pakistan bowlers struggle in Tests against South Africa while they looked completely different in the limited-overs series.
“I am aiming to make them equally effective in Tests. I will touch the fine points and will tell them about the insight of the game and boost their confidence. Gul and Junaid Khan need little tips to lift their game.”
To a query on Irfan, Wasim said the lanky fast bowler needed to maintain his fitness to serve the country for another four years.
Wasim also laid emphasis on the use of kookaburra balls in domestic cricket, saying it becomes difficult for pacers in international cricket.
“It’s a different ball which swings in the first 20 overs and offers no movement after that period. It makes it tough for our fast-bowlers who come without having practised with the ball.”
West Indies tour in doubt
Pakistan’s scheduled series with the West Indies later this summer is in jeopardy after the two boards failed to find a suitable time for the tour.
The tour was planned for June and July and included two Tests, five One-Day Internationals and a couple of Twenty20s.
According to the Future Tours Programme, West Indies are to host Pakistan during the two months, but the country’s cricket board wants to hold a tri-series also including India and Sri Lanka during the period.
To avoid the clash, the West Indies Cricket Board asked to reschedule the series but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which wants to host India and Zimbabwe, refused to accept the call.
A PCB official said the tour was likely to be postponed due to the situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2013.