Critics call for young fast bowler to be dropped December 19, 2005

Imran to give struggling Sami a shot in the arm

Cricinfo staff

After a fantastic start to his career, Mohammad Sami has found life hard in the Test arena © Getty Images
Imran Khan, the Pakistan legend, is to give Mohammad Sami, the fast bowler, specialist one-on-one coaching ahead of a home Test series against India in January, according to Inzamam-ul-Haq.

"Imran is very concerned Sami has not yet fulfilled his potential," Inzamam-ul-Haq told BBC Sport. "Imran has said that when we have our training camp for the Indian series he will come down and work with Sami to see what is the problem holding him back."

Sami, 24, has been struggling for form and confidence, and a record of only 65 wickets at 46.12 from 24 Tests has put his place in the national side under considerable threat. Sami burst onto the international scene with eight wickets in his debut Test against New Zealand in Auckland in 2001, and also claimed hat-tricks against Sri Lanka and West Indies during a promising start to his career.

Since then, though, he has failed to live up to his reputation and has been tagged as inconsistent. In the recent three-Test series against a touring England, Sami managed only seven wickets. Shoaib Akhtar, who has faced similar criticism though being a proven matchwinner, silenced his detractors with a stunning 17-wicket haul in the series. Consistently troubling England with variations of pace, Akhtar emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the series.

It is with optimism - and the desire to see Sami perform like Akhtar - that Inzamam has stated Imran's intentions. "Imran believes that if Sami can start producing the performances that he has been threatening to do with his vast potential then Pakistan will have a very balanced bowling attack for Tests and one-dayers."