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April 5, 2011
"This debate over the wicketkeeper's performance is a difficult one but I think the Pakistan team now needs a younger wicketkeeper who can carry the load for the next few years," Waqar told reporters in Lahore. "It's the right time to groom a wicketkeeper." Akmal's glovework has come in for sharp criticism in recent times, especially during Pakistan's tour of Australia in early 2010 as well as in the World Cup, during which he spilled several chances.
Pakistan lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup to India and Waqar said that while the loss was "disappointing", the team had done well to reach the last four and he advised against making any sweeping changes. "It's routine for people to ask for radical changes after a team crashes out of the World Cup. I agree that it is time to build a new team but that does not mean you replace all the players with youngsters, as was done after the 2003 World Cup. We need to maintain a balance between experience and youth which will ensure stability in the team."
Waqar, who still has a year left in his coaching contract, said Pakistan allowed India to "overwhelm" them and the team failed to handle the pressure at several key points. "We also lost wickets at the wrong time. But these are all excuses. We missed various chances [in the field]. Those catches cost us heavily because you can't allow so much leverage to a strong batting line up.
"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."
Waqar was in Lahore to meet PCB chief Ijaz Butt. The Pakistan selectors meet later today to select the squad for Pakistan's tour of West Indies that begins on April 18.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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