Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary Pakistan left-arm seamer Wasim Akram believes that this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) failed to produce any emerging top-notch batsman.
While there were many bowlers who stole the spotlight, including Faheem Ashraf and 17-year-old Shaheen Afridi, it was a much different story when it came to the batsmen.
Akram admitted that this is a major concern and should serve as a wake-up call for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“If we notice, in the third PSL we haven’t seen even one emerging batsman,” Akram, who was the team director of the Multan Sultans, was quoted as saying by Gulf News. “We have seen all-rounders and bowlers but not batsmen.
“It shows that we need to work on our first class structure. Hopefully after this PSL hype, we will have to invest some money into our first class system.”
However, Akram admitted that he was highly impressed with the standard of fielding throughout the competition.
“The fielding standards have been unbelievably brilliant,” Akram said. “The only worry for me is not seeing any emerging batsman. We saw bowlers like Shaheen Afridi of Lahore Qalandars, and if I have to pick one young player, it will be Islamabad United’s Hussain Talat, though it is his third year in the PSL.”
With the PSL final being held in Karachi and the West Indies playing a three-match Twenty20 series at the same venue next month, Akram feels that international cricket will slowly start returning to Pakistan.
“By staging more PSL matches in Pakistan and with West Indies coming next month for three T20s, everyone will understand that Pakistan is a normal place like any country in the world,” he said. “There were problems but not anymore and cricket is our most loved sport.
“I am happy that the PSL III was well organised and congratulations to Najam Sethi and his team. The cricketing decisions and facilities were spot on.”
Recently, former West Indies batsman Brian Lara said that Akram “always made me feel stupid”.
When asked about this, the ‘Sultan of Swing’ said: “Lara has been too generous. He is the one of the best batsmen I have bowled to. People always ask me who is the best [between] Lara or Sachin Tendulkar. If you see the records, Sachin is the greatest but Waqar and me never played against Sachin from 1989 till 1999.
“It was ten years of no Tests between the two countries but we played against Lara every second year as there would be a series in West Indies or in Pakistan. He played the reverse swing bowled at 140 to 150 kmph and scored hundreds against us. He was very difficult to bowl as anything short or a loose delivery he will hit you for a boundary. He was a different breed.”