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Former great Akram ready to mend Pakistan's bowling woes
KARACHI (Reuters) - Former great Wasim Akram is prepared to help Pakistan's fast-bowling department out of a hole with his country in need of fresh talent.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim said last week that Pakistan was facing a pace bowling crisis as there was no exciting talent coming up even at the domestic level.
However Akram, one of Pakistan's leading pacemen with 414 test wickets and 502 one-day international scalps, said he was not worried about the future.
"I am not disheartened by the situation. We have always come up with raw and exciting talent and I am sure if we scout countrywide we will find potentially strong pacers," said the 46-year-old.
"I am always ready to help Pakistan cricket in whatever role possible. In the past I have held fast bowling camps for the board. I can do it again."
Pakistan has a proud record of producing world class fast bowler including Imran Khan for two decades from the early 1970s then Akram's new ball partner Waqar Younis and in more recent times Shoaib Akhtar.
However they lost two of their best bowlers in Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir in 2011 after the duo were banned by the International Cricket Council for spot-fixing during a series in England and they both served jail sentences.
During the current tour of South Africa Pakistan have struggled in the fast bowling department, Umar Gul taking five wickets in two tests at an average of around 45.
Tour selectors also tried out six different pacers in the three test series in which they were whitewashed and Pakistan currently have no paceman featuring in the current ICC top 10 test and ODI bowling rankings.
Akram said that not having any international teams touring Pakistan since 2009, because of security concerns after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, had also held back the development of young bowlers.
"It is ideal for the young pacers to first be groomed in international cricket on home grounds. Unfortunately that has not been happening for Pakistan," he said. (Editing by Tom Pilcher)
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