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Saturday, Sep 25, 2021
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'Wasim Was Naturally Gifted'

'Grooming him was the easiest thing. All I engrained in him was the ability to take wickets,' recounts his mentor Imran Khan

'Wasim Was Naturally Gifted'
'Wasim Was Naturally Gifted'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Hailing him as one of the greatest bowlers ever, cricketers and administrators in Pakistan heaped praise on Wasim Akram.

Captain Rashid Latif, who is leading Pakistan in a triangular tournament in Sri Lanka, said he was sad to hear about Akram's decision to retire.

"I don't think we will see anyone as naturally talented as him for a long time now. I have never seen a greater cricketer or sportsman than him," Latif said.

"It is sad to hear about his retirement. But it was something that was playing on his mind for sometime now."

Akram, who has a world record 502 wickets in one-day internationals apart from 414 scalps in Test cricket, was dumped from the Pakistan team, along with some of the seniormost players, after the team's disastrous campaign in the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year.

Even though his teammate Shoaib Akhtar returned to the squad for the tri-series in Sri Lanka, Akram, currently playing county cricket in England, was ignored by the selectors.

Legendary all-rounder and his former mentor Imran Khan rated Akram alongside Michael Holding of the West Indies as two of the greatest bowlers the world has ever seen.

"I reckon Wasim and Michael Holding are two of the best and most natural fast bowlers of the century," Imran was quoted as saying.

"Grooming Wasim was the easiest thing because he was naturally gifted. All I engrained in him was the ability to take wickets," Imran said.

Another former captain Javed Miandad, who is credited with introducing a raw Akram into the international stage, echoed the sentiments of Imran.

"Wasim Akram was one of the greatest finds of Pakistan cricket in the last two decades," Miandad, now coach of the national side, said in Colombo. "I still feel proud that I was the one who pushed him into the Pakistan team."

Pakistan Cricket Board chief Lt Gen Tauqir Zia also paid rich tribute to Akram and said his 19-year experience at the international level would be suitably utilised to train newcomers.

"We do not want Wasim's 19 years of international experience to go waste. We would definitely like to use it for the promotion of the game in the country," Lt Gen Zia said adding that Akram could be asked to train young bowlers at the academy.

Latif also felt that Akram could continue to contribute to Pakistan cricket and said he would love to be associated in this endeavour.

"I have always looked up to him as a cricketer. It was an experience keeping to his bowling all these years," Latif  said.

Lt Gen Zia said the PCB had a number of plans in mind to honour Akram, one of them being to dedicate one of the one-day internationals to be played between Pakistan and South Africa in Pakistan later this year to the former captain.

PTI

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