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IPL 2014: Wasim Akram baffled with Umesh Yadav’s exclusion from Team India

Wasim Akram © IANS
Wasim Akram © IANS

By Faisal Kamal

New Delhi: Apr 28, 2014

Encouraged by the presence of many “team players,” Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowling coach Wasim Akram has expressed confidence that his side will make it to the final four in the IPL as they have a “good enough” bowling attack.

“We just went for the players we thought are team players and obviously individual match winners, Yusuf is there, Shakib-al-Hasan, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell. All these guys are team people and a team sport needs players who support each other when things are bad,” Akram told PTI in an interview.

“There will be a rough time. You’ll lose couple of games on the trot, which will happen, it’s a long tournament. But, it was decision made by the management, we want boys who could actually be good team players apart from being individual match winners,” the former Pakistani skipper said on whether KKR had consciously stayed away from star players this time.

Asked whether he sees KKR in the final four in this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League, he said, “I would love to. Yes I can see KKR. I would like to see KKR in the finals. We have good enough team, we have good enough bowling, fielding has been consistent. So, yes, there is always a chance.”

Akram, who was part of the KKR dug-out during three IPL editions from 2010 to 2012, said his job was to talk to the bowlers, talk to the captain about strategy and give confidence to all the batsmen. “With my experience in cricket, I have played like 21 years internationally. I have ideas to give to them and they are enjoying. Its early days in this tournament but everybody seems to be enjoying each other’s company. That’s always a good sign before a big tournament,” he said.

Akram said KKR had a “good enough” bowling attack. “We have Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins as overseas players and also Veer Pratap, Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav,” he said. Akram heaped praise on Indian paceman Yadav, saying, “I think Umesh Yadav is phenomenal, he’s got pace and still can’t understand why he’s not playing for India. It still baffles me.”

Akram opined that spinners are more handy in the T20 format as the batsmen has to take risks to go after a tweaker.

The IPL’s first leg is being played in the UAE and Akram said the tournament was “definitely different” with different grounds and different crowds. However, he said the buzz was still the same with packed stadiums and everybody enjoying the game throughly.

Commenting on India’s bowling attack for the 2015 World Cup, Akram said, “Its another year to go, but yes, I suppose Shami is there, Bhuvneshwar is there, but I reckon with Umesh in the side, the bowing attack will be complete for the 2015 World Cup.” He also said Irfan Pathan can be a handy tool in Australia if he performs well in the IPL and and in the first class season ahead.

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