Akram bats for beleaguered Ganguly

Published: Sunday, November 14, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Bulawayo :Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram today backed continuation of Sourav Ganguly as the skipper, saying the Indian team currently on a lean patch would stage a come-back.

"Right now, the Indian team is going through a bit of lean patch. I don't think you have to take drastic steps", the former left-arm fast bowler told reporters here when asked for his comments on Mark Waugh's suggestion to replace Ganguly.

"Ganguly is not old. He is 32 or 33 or even younger. Just give him sometime, give him confidence. I think the team can come back. My advice is leave them (the team) alone for a while. The will get back into the groove," Akram said.

He said though India lost the series against Australia, they are the favourites in the two-Test series against South Africa.

"India are the favourites. They are going to win this series," said Akram, who is the only bowler in the world to have captured more than 400 wickets both in Test and one-day cricket.

Akram also supported Kapil Dev's view that a player always play for the country and not for the Cricket Board.

"I think Kapil is right there. All cricketers are professionals. They don't play for their Board; they play for their country. What's is the Cricket Board? We play for our country. I think all the players of India and Pakistan.. They are proud to represent their country."

Asked if he thought Australia's domination over other teams would continue in near future, Akram said: "looks like". But Akram, who played 104 Tests claiming 414 wickets and scored 2,898 runs with a highest score of 257, believes it would be impossible for the current West Indies team to regain past glory.

"Regaining past glory will be impossible. They were great players...Greatest ever (when West Indies dominated the world cricket). The ICC Champions Trophy win has only given them confidence that they can win again against other teams," he added.

Akram, also the highest wicket taker in ODIs with 502 scalps to his credit at an average of 23.5 in 356 matches, said becoming a coach was not on his mind right now.

"Coaching needs specialised skills. You need to learn that. Great players are not (necessarily) great coaches. Right now I am enjoying life. May be I will think about it (coaching) a little later", added Akram.

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