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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Afridi is the right man to lead in World Cup: Akram

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram has backed the PCB's decision to appoint Shahid Afridi as captain for the upcoming World Cup, saying the 30-year-old all-rounder is the right man to lead the country in the mega event.

"The Pakistan board has made the right choice in selecting Afridi as the skipper. Despite having delayed the decision for so long, I am happy that in the end they chose the most able man for the job," Akram said.

"Afridi has been leading the side for a while and has gotten to grips with the nuances of captaincy. In cricket, you need one or two years to perfect the art of captaincy and this is why I think Afridi was the best option available," the former player added.

With speculations over who would lead Pakistan in the World Cup finally laid to rest, Akram felt the side will now be able to look forward to the tournament with renewed confidence.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad, who scored a fluent century in the fifth ODI against New Zealand, came in for rich praise from the former legend who felt the 19-year-old will not be overawed by the occasion.

"Shehzad has been playing sensational cricket. I know this kid. He is a real fearless character who does not feel that much pressure. I think he is definitely one to watch out for. His idea of defence is to attack and he will be consistent and lethal on sub-continent tracks," Akram was quoted as saying by

Talking about other players who can make a difference, Akram reckoned veterans Abdur Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar to play key roles.

"I think Razzaq's aim for the World Cup should be to end as Man of the Tournament. He is one of the best all-rounders out there and is definitely a real match-winner.

"He has to focus a bit on his bowling and fielding but his explosiveness with the bat, lower down the order is unmatched in world cricket. He is one of those rare people who can smash a load of runs off very few balls, changing the game in an instant," Akram said.

"Umar Gul will be the main bowler, but if Akhtar stays fit and healthy, he can still make a difference," he said.
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