~~Senseless to axe Waugh as ODI captain~~

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Sharjah: Pakistani veteran Wasim Akram joined a growing list of Steve Waugh backers on Thursday, saying it was "senseless" to sack the Australian as his country's Limited Overs captain.

"Steve Waugh is one of the best players in the world and definitely the best captain around. I am quite stunned he has been dropped. But Waugh will come back because he is a fighter," Akram said. Waugh, 36, who led Australia to victory in the 1999 World Cup against Akram's Pakistan, was on Wednesday dumped from the One-day squad, although he will continue as Test captain. "I think it was a senseless move by Australia's selectors to remove Waugh just because Australia failed to win a One-day tournament at home," the 35-year-old Akram said. "So what is the criteria for captaincy? I pity the guy who will replace Waugh because he will be under tremendous pressure. If he fails in one series, even he could be dropped." Akram and Waugh are the senior-most cricketers in the contemporary game. Both made their World Cup debuts in 1987, but Akram will move ahead of Waugh to 326 appearances if he plays in all three matches of the One-day series against the West Indies starting on Thursday. "For the last three years Australia has done very well under Waugh's captaincy. He was so positive. He did not hesitate to put three slip fielders in One-day matches, or keep six fielders inside the circle in the slog overs," Akram said. Akram was himself removed as Pakistani captain after the World Cup and replaced by fellow-paceman Waqar Younis.

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