England greats can aid Akmal, says PCB boss

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Pakistan cricket chief Shahriyar Khan is hoping one of England's greatest glovemen can help faltering wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal regain his form behind the stumps.

Akmal, widely regarded as one of the world's leading wicket-keeper batsmen, has missed several chances during the ongoing series against England, including two routine efforts off Marcus Trescothick in the third Test at Headingley when the opener was in single figures before making a second innings 58.

Pakistan lost that match by 167 runs and with it the series as England went 2-0 up with one to play.

But Shahriyar, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman is hoping team coach Bob Woolmer, the former England all-rounder, can persuade one or other of Bob Taylor (174 dismissals in 57 Tests) or Jack Russell (165 in 54), two of England's best keepers of modern times, to work with Akmal.

"Kamran Akmal is one of our finest players and Rodney Marsh - one of Australia's greatest glovemen - said he was the best wicketkeeper in the world last year," Shahriyar told bigstarcricket.com. "He's had a bad tour but he will be back.

"I'm going to ask Bob if he ask Bob Taylor or Jack Russell to work with him. I always thought that both of those guys were superb keepers. Kamran just needs a good match and a return to confidence."

But it remains to be seen how the intensely patriotic Russell, who was working on a consultancy basis with axed England keeper Geraint Jones, recently replaced by Chris Read, would feel about working with a touring side while they were still in Britain.

Meanwhile, Shahriyar has also backed Woolmer and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq despite Pakistan's first Test series loss in 18 months.

Pakistan cricket politics usually demand major changes after a series reverse but Shahriyar said he would resist calls for vice-captain Younis Khan to replace Inzamam as skipper.

"We aim to remain steady and calm," he said. "Last time we lost a series, the manager was sacked, the captain (Mohammad Yousuf in Australia) was sacked. We don't believe in that.

"There are just a couple of things that have prevented us from moving forward. We have struggled to find opening batsmen, and have been unlucky with Shoaib Malik's injury.

"Hopefully he will return for the one-day series, while Mohammed Hafeez is also looking good having scored runs for the A team in Australia."

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