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Akram criticises India's performance
November 28, 2006 13:52 IST
With the South African tour turning out to be a nightmare for India, Pakistan's cricketing legend Wasim Akram on Monday said the team's batting and bowling performance were below par for the first time in five years and suggested that Sachin Tendulkar should show the same aggression in his approach as West Indian genius Brian Lara.
"Your (India's) batting is looking below average; they are looking out of it. For the first time in last five years, the year since I retired, I am seeing an Indian batting line-up below par," Akram said after India once again surrendered abjectly to South Africa in the third ODI in Cape Town on Sunday.
Referring to the slump in Sachin's form in the last two ODIs, Akram said the Master Blaster seems to have "gone into a shell" and lacked the attacking mode.
"I have been watching Sachin. He has achieved everything. Now he should be toying around the bowling like Lara does. People say he has responsibility but so has Lara.
"Sachin should come out and play his shots, especially in one-day cricket. When he goes back in his shell, leaving deliveries outside the off stump, then the bowler gets to him. When Lara comes, it is totally opposite. He looks for two or three balls and he then starts playing everywhere," he said.
The former Pakistani fast bowler said he has noticed that Tendulkar in the last one year or so had been conscious about correct technique as reflected in his decision to leave the ball outside the off stump.
"Tendulkar I have noticed in the last year or two that he is very conscious when he comes out to bat. He wants to be proper, leaves the ball around," Akram said.
Akram juxtaposed Sachin's aggressive batting in the previous World Cup in South Africa and his present style to drive home his contention about a certain tentativeness in the approach of the Mumbai batting maestro.
"I remember the game in Centurion during the last World Cup when Sachin was in a mood to dominate. If I bowled up, he would come on the front foot; I pitch short and he would be punching it through. That's when I get worried," Akram said.
"When Abdul Razzaq dropped him, I told him he has dropped the match not Sachin. I know what the wicket was doing, there was no swing and he wanted to punch every delivery. But when he is defending and blocking every delivery, I would know that unless I bowl a really bad one, I would be on top of him."
Akram was highly critical of the quality of India's overall batting in the current tour and suggested the inclusion V V S Laxman and Sourav Ganguly in the team.
"Everybody looks average. They (the batsmen) are not even coming behind the ball. Your team is inexperienced; bowling too. It appears in shambles. Five years ago we used to say winning against India in India is impossible. It is totally opposite now. Your batsmen never used to get out," he said.
"There is no aggression, no passion. Body language is not positive. It seems they are praying Allah kare tour khatm ho (God! End this tour soon)," he said.
Akram believes the selectors should have followed the "horses for courses" philosophy and bring Laxman and Ganguly for such an important tour.
"You have dropped key players; Ganguly and Laxman are missing. Please ignore them if somebody is better than them. But if you want the World Cup, this is the tour to practice and experiment," he advised.
Akram lashed out against the Indian medium-fast bowlers including Irfan Pathan who was once his prot�g�.
"Look at your bowlers. Agarkar is average, so is Irfan. Munaf Patel looks like 124 and not 24 years old to me. The way he was bowling the second spell in the second game, somebody should tell him with such performance he would be dropped," Akram said.
He said Pathan's action has gone bad and he is not using his front arm at all.
"His action has gone bad. He is not using his front arm at all. He is not pivoting and coming sideways. He has three or four major issues with his bowling. It can only be told by a bowling coach," Akram said.
He said Indian coach Greg Chappell can only show Pathan certain things about bowling. "But somebody has to tell him the finer points," he said.
Akram appeared disappointed that Pathan did not come up to him to seek his advice to improve his bowling.
"I am here but he hasn't come up to me. If I am struggling, I will go up to anyone. I spoke to Marshall, Hadlee, Kapil everyone," he said, adding that "Irfan wouldn't learn unless and until he asks people around. I am not going to go to him."
India's tour of South Africa 2006: The Complete Coverage
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