The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘We are yet to find another Imran’

Karachi: Wasim Akram has urged his countrymen to show patience with the management and back an emerging crop of youngsters as the Pakistan cricket team rebuilds after its hammering by Australia.

“The Pakistan team is going through a transition phase as youngsters are taking places of the senior players, so the recent performances should not be worrying… We must not panic,” the 36-year-old Akram said Thursday.

Pakistan have lost six of their last 11 one-day Internationals and were routed 3-0 by Australia in the recent Test series which ended in Sharjah Tuesday.

“I think we must back the youngsters because they are our future and need two years to mature,” said Akram, who has taken 414 Test and 479 one-day wickets during his illustrious career.

Akram said he saw hope despite the drubbing by Australia. “I thought Pakistan fought well in the first Test and nearly surprised Australia. Later of course, Australia exploited the inexperience of our youngsters,” he said.

Pakistan were forced to play a young team against the formidable Australians after senior players like Akram and Saeed Anwar opted to rest, while dependable batsmen Inzamam-ul Haq and Yusuf Youhana were sidelined by injuries.

Akram brushed aside talk that he ran away fearing a thrashing from the Aussies. “It’s absurd to suggest that I ran away and let the team down. I had told the coach and the captain two months ago that I will rest after the Kenya tri-series,” he said.

“We still haven’t found a captain like Imran Khan,” Akram said on his mentor whom he still respects. “Waqar Younis and I took years to get established and replace Imran as a fast bowler of international repute.

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