Waqar believes Woolmer will win it for Pak

Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi :Pakistan's experiment with foreign coaches may not have worked in the past but legendary fast bowler Waqar Younis believes that the appointment of Bob Woolmer could arrest the sliding fortunes of the team as the Englishman had a "very good reputation".

Waqar said Woolmer had the credentials to turn the team around provided the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gave him ample time to work with the team.

"We had foreign coaches in the past, but it didn't work. Woolmer has a very good reputation, he did well with Warwickshire and South Africa. The PCB has relied on him and I think he can do it," Waqar said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

When asked whether Woolmer could be successful considering that Pakistani coaches had been sacked so often in the past, the former captain said, "I do agree that coaches have been sacked, you cannot deny that fact. It has happened. But the PCB has given a longer tenure to Woolmer".

The PCB unceremoniously sacked Javed Miandad after the team's humiliating defeats in the One-dayers and Tests against India and appointed Woolmer on a three-year contract, saying that they needed a coach who was well acquainted with technology.

Waqar, one of the pioneers of the art of reverse swing, admitted that the Pakistan team was struggling at the moment and it needed a great effort to rejuvenate the team.

"We are struggling at the moment. The PCB is trying out different things to raise the standard. We have a new cricket academy in Lahore, I hope it will provide a good base," he said.

Waqar, who was in New Delhi for a promotional campaign for ESPN-Star Sports, said the Pakistani bowling line-up was also struggling although there was no dearth of talent in the country.

"It was a drawback that both Wasim (Akram) and I left simultaneously, it has left a bit of a vacuum. We are struggling a bit in the bowling department. We have a fairly good batting line up, but the bowling needs to be a lot more consistent."

The former captain, who claimed as many as 789 international wickets in a career spanning 14 years, said the bowling was much too dependent on Shoaib Akhtar. "If he gets going it is okay, but he has to do that more often"

On the chucking issue, which has again come to the forefront with ace Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan being banned from bowling his 'doosra', he said the game's governing body should sort out the issue "once and for all".

"I don't think my opinion will matter. But International Cricket Council (ICC) should put their foot down. They should put down the rule and stick to it. I don't understand all this talk on five degrees flexion and all. Whatever they do, they should sort it out once and for all otherwise the controversy will continue."

The former speedster rated India as the favourites for the ensuing Asia Cup cricket tournament in Sri Lanka and spoke highly of the Indian batsmen.

"Looking at the present Indian side, they have a great chance of winning the Asia Cup. Their batting is at the top of the world with six class batsmen in good form. They also have a fairly good bowling line-up," he said.

Waqar was impressed by the performance of young Indian bowlers like Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji during the recent series in Pakistan.

"The young Indian bowlers bowled within their limitations. If they carry the same form to Sri Lanka, I see no reason why India cannot win the Asia Cup."

On the recent spat between controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and the PCB, Waqar said, "I really don't want to go into details. It is a matter between Shoaib and the PCB, let them sort it out.

"(But) if you've got to play, you have to play hard. He (Shoaib) needs to be more disciplined."

On the omission of Shahid Afridi from the list of probables for the Asia Cup, he said, "I have not been following the team selection as such. Afridi can be effective in sub-continental conditions. He is a dangerous batsman if hegets going".

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