Pakistan news September 21, 2013

PCB grant Akram one-month extension

Mohammad Akram, the Pakistan bowling coach, has got a one-month extension that will allow him to carry out his job for the upcoming South Africa series in the UAE. His original one-year contract ended after the Zimbabwe series.

Moin Khan, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, has also been named as manager for the tour. The recently concluded tour of Zimbabwe was his first assignment.

"We have extended his contract for another month," a PCB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "It is a decision amid the ongoing caretaker setup, in which the board cannot appoint nor make a call to terminate anyone's services in the light of the Islamabad High Court order. So, Akram will join Pakistan's squad next month in the UAE for the South Africa series."

His services were acquired following the ouster of Aaqib Javed, who resigned to be UAE's head coach after the series against England in 2012. He has been with the national side since the limited-overs series against Australia in the UAE, and has so far covered five Tests, 25 ODIs and 16 T20Is. During his stint as bowling coach, he oversaw the international debuts of Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali.

His influence on bowlers like Irfan and Junaid was quite evident when the duo dominated in the limited-overs series in India and, later on, during the South Africa tour.

Akram, who played nine Tests and 23 ODIs for Pakistan between 1995 and 2001, is settled in England and has represented Essex, Sussex, Surrey and Northamptonshire. He played 125 matches and picked up 415 wickets in his 15-year first-class career. However, he hasn't been involved with any of the first-class teams in England and Pakistan in a coaching capacity.

"Working in Pakistan is a big challenge," Akram said earlier this year. "You have an extensive crop of fast bowlers around the country, but things aren't as fertile as it used to be. We, though, have a history of big names like Sarfaraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, but they are past now and we have a new era here with completely different bowlers. The tone of the cricket itself has changed immensely.

"We have a nice decent bunch for international cricket and the future with them is entire[ly] secure. It's bit unfair comparing them to the previous great like Wasim-Waqar because you can't have th[at] sort of bowler back again. They were unique and expecting the current lot is not good. They [currently] are good bowlers, and with more international exposure, they can be great in the longer-run. I am working with all the new bunch on top. Even went down at the grass root level to [gain some] insight about the upcoming bowlers, and I am satisfied."

Akram also ran an extensive programme with the regional coaches of the country. "The idea was to let the region understand how important there role is to build a fast bowler at the grass-root[s]. We aren't running out of any stock, that is for sure. We are actually lacking in the development of the player. What we need to understand [is] that we have to built a solid foundation at the basic level so that once the player graduated up to the national level, he must be a ready-made bowler [for] the country."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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