While Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has requested cricket selectors against make drastic changes following the team’s defeat against India in the World Cup semi-final, he has urged them to replace wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal immediately.
Waqar emphasised the need to maintain a balance between youth and experience in the squad and build a cricket team but urged the selectors to look for a new wicket-keeper and provide full training and grooming in that department.
“This debate over the wicket-keeper’s performance is a difficult one but I think the Pakistan team now needs a younger wicket-keeper who can carry the load for the next few years,” said Waqar. “I’m not trying to overshadow the selection committee with my point of view but it’s definitely the right time to groom a wicket-keeper now.”
Avoid massive changes
“It’s routine for people to ask for radical changes and induction of young blood after a team crashes out of the World Cup. I consent with the idea that it is time to build a new team but that does not mean you replace all the players with youngsters like it was done after the 2003 World Cup.
“We need to maintain a balance between experience and youth which will ensure stability in the team.”
Coach admits poor fielding
Talking to journalists in his first interaction after his return from the World Cup, Waqar said that the overall performance of the team was not bad to earn national dejection. He added that the target in the semi-final was not unachievable but Pakistan failed due to the team’s poor fielding.
“Losing the semi-final to India was disappointing but the team did well to reach the last-four stage even though we were considered the under-dogs when the competition started. We let the opposition overwhelm us and we failed to handle pressure at various points in the match. We also lost wickets at the wrong time.
“But these are all excuses. We missed various chances and more importantly India played better than us and went on to win the World Cup.”
‘Let’s avoid controversies’
Waqar, who still has a year left in his contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board, said he believes that controversies can be groundless, ruling out Sachin Tendulkar’s controversial leg-before decision that was overturned by the tv umpire.
“Mistakes were there aplenty. We mistimed our Powerplays, had a wrong batting order or even bowling combination but these are all part of the game. What’s important is that you learn from your mistakes.”
The coach, however, refused to make any comments regarding the umpire referral system, insisting everyone should try and avoid controversies. The selectors will meet today to discuss the squad for Pakistan’s tour of West Indies.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2011.