Zaheer is best left-arm pacer now: Akram

Published: Saturday, January 17, 2009, 11:24 [IST]
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Zaheer is the best, says Akram

Dubai: Pakistan's former pace sensation Wasim Akram today lauded Zaheer Khan and said that left-arm pacer is the best bowler in the game at the moment.

''Without doubt Zaheer Khan is the best. He has improved his bowling. He can swing the ball both ways and also get it to reverse swing. He can also bowl close to the wicket, wide of the crease and round the wicket,'' Akram was quoted as saying by the 'Gulf News'.

Akram, who is rated amongst the best fast bowlers of all-time has often helped Zaheer with inputs on fast bowling. In the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh, Zaheer bagged a seven-wicket haul in the first innings to help Mumbai win the trophy for a record 38th time.

The legendary pacer, who has 414 wickets in Test matches and 502 wickets in ODIs, did not hesitate to declare India as the best team at the moment and suggested that Pakistan should play often against them.

''With India becoming the best team in the world, Pakistan should play against them. Sporting ties should never be cancelled,'' he said. While South Africa is pressing hard to claim the number one spot, Akram felt that the Proteas will have to beat India if they wish to be at the top.

''India have won against Australia at home and away, and beaten England and South Africa. I will admit that South Africa are the best only if they do well in India during their tour,'' he added.

He also feared that the lack of international cricket might force Pakistani players to go for a lucrative deal with Indian Cricket league (ICL).

''If Pakistan does not get to play international cricket, they may lose more players to the Indian Cricket League (ICL). If cricketers do not get enough opportunity to play the game they will leave. ''So Pakistan should play international cricket either at home or abroad at any cost. Pakistan will find their tour to Australia in October really tough as they have not played Test cricket for close to one year,'' he said.

While many of the senior Pakistani players have expressed their dissatisfaction over Shoaib Malik's captaincy, Akram believes that the captain has improved a lot over the years.

''He has improved a lot. Cricket captaincy is something you learn over the years. You have to learn to handle the media, the senior players and how to act off the field. He has to learn to take advantage of senior players because without their support you cannot go a long way,'' he advised.


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