Akhtar believes that Pakistan bowling standards have dropped from when he started playing cricket
Former Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar has expressed his interest in becoming the new bowling coach of the national side, but stated that he would only accept the role if he was approached by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The PCB have have been on the lookout for a bowling coach since the appointment of Dav Whatmore as head coach and Julien Fountain as the fielding coach.
Speaking to reporters at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Akhtar said: “I am ready to be the bowling coach. I will offer my services If the PCB contacts me, it’s an honour to serve the country and it can be done by helping the upcoming bowlers. It will give me a chance to pay back what the country has given me.”
Akhtar announced his retirement from international cricket after the 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) 50-over World Cup, and finished with 178 Test and 247 ODI wickets over the span of a 14-year career, which has been marred by injuries and a countless number of controversies.
When asked what he thought of the current bowlers in the Pakistan side, Akhtar said: “The current lot of bowlers are good, but not as good as what we are known for in our strong history of fast bowling, I always hear that we have talent, but what is more important is to hunt down that talent. Unfortunately, we have been struggling in fast bowling for the last one and half years.”
The former pace bowler also advised the PCB to consider hiring former Pakistan legends like Imran Khan to help improve the team and scout the domestic leagues for talented players.
“He [Imran] has that eye to spot the talent and it would be ideal if he could take out some time,” Akhtar said.
Recently, the PCB have offered former Pakistan pace bowling legend Wasim Akram a short-term contract to help train some of the upcoming talents in the squad, but nothing was finalised due to Akram’s busy schedule.
When asked about the Pakistan team selected for the upcoming ‘home’ series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates, Akhtar noted that the pressure would be on the spin bowlers to deliver since there were a lack of fast bowlers in the squad.
“Pakistan is already lacking true strike bowlers and [Umar] Gul obviously will be missed this time. If pitches in UAE are flat, then I am afraid things won’t be good for the young fast-bowlers and the spinners, as usual, will have to take the extra load,” Akhtar added.