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Monday, April 4, 2011

Waqar urges national selectors to look for a new keeper

Pakistan cricket team coach Waqar Younis has urged the national selection committee to look for a new wicketkeeper, who can replace Kamran Akmal, in the national team. "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 the media in Lahore where he held a meeting with the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ijaz Butt.
Waqar's remarks about having a new wicketkeeper is a clear indication that the experienced Kamran Akmal may have played his last match for Pakistan in the World Cup as even the selectors are now said to be keen to induct a new keeper in the Test and One-day sides.
Adnan Akmal, the younger brother of Kamran, and Sarfaraz Ahmed are said to be the front runners for the position as both have played for Pakistan in the past.
Waqar, meanwhile, made it clear that he would complete his coaching contract with the Pakistan, despite their semi-final loss against arch-rivals India in the World Cup.
The former Test captain said he had one year remaining as Pakistan coach and would continue to do the job as he was satisfied with the performance of the team in the World Cup.
"Losing the semi-final to India was disappointing but the team did well to reach the last four stage even though we were considered under-dogs when the competition started.
"India played better than us and went on to win the World Cup," he noted.
Waqar also pointed out that 260 runs was an attainable score in the semi-final but the real difference between the two teams was the catches dropped by Pakistan.
"Those catches cost us heavily because you can't allow so much levy to a strong batting line up that India has."
Waqar said he wanted to be part of the process where new players were being inducted into the team, which was being given a new look.
"I am in support of making changes in the team but they should not be total changes and it should be a sensible and a gradual process to groom new players."
The Pakistan coach played down the controversy over the World Cup trophy after a furore in the Indian media about the Indian team being given a replica as the original one was confiscated by Indian custom authorities.
The issue raised so much storm that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had to issue a clarification that the trophy given to the Indian team was the original one and the replica was with the custom authorities.
"I don't think it really matters whether it was a replica trophy or the original one since the main thing is the feeling of becoming world champions once you win the final," he said.
"This is not an issue to me because the Indian team must now be feeling at the top of the world having won the final. They are the champions and for Indian cricket it is a big achievement," he added.
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