Wasim offers help to Pakistan quicks
Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has taken the reins of the country's fast-bowlers to help their progress. He and the PCB reached an agreement for a short-term fast-bowling camp in Karachi between April 20-29, ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Along with the camp, Wasim, with the collaboration of the PCB and a cellular company, will search for the fastest bowlers in the country. The search will be nationwide as the candidates will be selected from 8-10 cities over 5-7 days. Any bowler with a bowling speed of 140kph or more will be selected.
He will also work with Pakistan's full-time bowling coach Mohammad Akram in the national camp planned in Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, from May 3-9. "The idea is to sit and talk with the bowlers and give them confidence," Akram said. "I will assess the bowlers, find out their problems and help them to rectify them. A lot of young bowlers need some insight. I will then keep a track of them and follow them closely."
"I saw them in Test matches against South Africa they didn't impress me, but in one-day cricket they looked different and wicket taking bowlers. I have to teach them what is a good corridor, what is the right line and length. Regardless of any sort of pitches anywhere in the world, they have to be consistent in length, with yorkers, and know how to take wickets."
Akram, 46, who has been with Kolkata Knight Riders, the IPL champions, for the last three seasons, is currently in Pakistan on a two-month break. He rues the absence of Pakistan players in the IPL and believes it is a loss for the tournament. Pakistani players featured in the inaugural IPL in 2008 but India stalled all bilateral ties after the November 2008 Mumbai attack. Despite a short series between the countries in December and January, Pakistani players were not allowed to take part in the sixth edition of the IPL.
"Politics should stay away from sports, and we should play cricket," Akram added. "Our players should have gone to the IPL. I think batsman are scoring easy runs in the absence of Pakistani bowlers and our bowlers could be top wicket takers there. The psyche of Pakistan bowlers is strong, they are physical and mentally tough while Indian bowlers get spoiled within a year. They start with express pace from 140-plus but in a year go down around 130."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here