VVS Laxman was like Mohammad Azharuddin, Zaheer Abbas, feels Rashid Latif

Rashid Latif kept wickets for Pakistan from 1992-2003 Getty Images

Karachi: Aug 22, 2012

With senior batsmen Rahul David and VVS Laxman retiring, India’s new breed of cricketers will finally get a chance to establish themselves in all formats of the game, feels former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif.

“There is no doubt about the greatness of Sachin, Dravid or Laxman. But I am happy to see that Dravid and Laxman have now retired which means India’s new breed of batsmen can finally get a chance to establish themselves in all formats of the game,” Latif said.

Laxman announced his retirement this week, while Dravid had retired from international cricket in March in the aftermath of the 0-8 debacle oversees last year.

Tendulkar, who has scored the most centuries in international cricket, however, has made it clear he intends to continue playing for India and has no immediate plans to step down.

Latif, who played for Pakistan between 1992 and 2003, said India won’t feel the absence of Dravid and Laxman that much as they have a very talented group of next generation batsmen.

“I say this because India’s new breed of players are extremely talented and have shown they can adapt quickly to all conditions,” he said.

“Virat Kohli has already made his mark and shown he is special similarly Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Dhoni are all quality players.”

Latif said that since 2000 the batsmen coming into international cricket were far better equipped than their predecessors to adapt and score in all conditions.

“Look at Kohli or Hashim Amla. They adapt so quickly. In the past even our best batsmen used to face problems adapting in Australia or South Africa,” he said.

“He was like Mohammad Azharuddin and Zaheer Abbas all about timing and artistry. Whenever he was batting I recall our players used to sit and watch him bat as he was simply a beautiful player and we appreciated his skill,” Latif said.

“But he has taken right decision to retire now.”

Latif said the situation in Pakistan cricket was very different.

“Whereas India have lot of quality batting in backup the situation is different in Pakistan that is why I can’t comprehend the wisdom behind dropping Younis Khan for the one-day series against Australia,” he said.

He pointed out that Pakistan was not producing the same quality batsmen as other countries.

“The selectors have dropped Younis but where is his replacement. I don’t know. You only drop a senior player like Younis or Misbah when you have their replacements ready to take over from them. In Pakistan it took us two years to groom Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq,” he noted.

Latif said the selectors had taken a big risk by dropping Younis.

“I just hope that they give the right person the proper choice. I would go for someone like Haris Sohail who is a good upcoming player.” (PTI)