Akram lauds decision to include Pathan in Indian team

July 21st, 2012 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram Saturday praised the decision of Indian selectors to pick Irfan Pathan for the ongoing five match One-day series against Sri Lanka as well as the World Twenty20.

Pathan though was lucky to be included in the Indian side for the Sri Lankan tour as he came into the team only as a replacement for injured pacer Vinay Kumar.

Akram, who is the bowling coach of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders, also lauded the inclusion of medium pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji in the T20 preliminary squad.

“Balaji is only 30 years old and I am glad that Indian selectors picked him. He is experienced with the slower bouncers, yorkers, and swings the new ball as well,” Akram said.

Balaji, who is yet to debut in T20 for the national squad, was rewarded for his consistent performance for the Knight Riders in fifth edition of the IPL.

“I think Balaji will be very handy and useful for India. I know him very well as he plays for my team Kolkata Knight Riders. He has clever bowling strategies and a very good mindset,” Akram added. The Tamil Nadu pacer last played an international game versus Sri Lanka in February 2009.

The Pakistani pacer, who is always been a supporter of Pathan, said that the he was the ideal person to fill the vacant all-rounder spot in the Indian squad.

“He only needs a longer run to get his confidence back,” suggested Akram.

“I think Pathan is a better choice than any other all-rounder in India. He has improved a lot. I think it’s important for Pathan and India that they need somebody at number seven or eight who can bowl and bat and this guy has got the ability,” said Akram.

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