Zalmi ready for Sultans challenge: Akram

From our correspondent

KARACHI: Former champions Peshawar Zalmi’s Director Cricket and bowling coach Mohammad Akram on Thursday said they are ready for their crucial outing of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 against Multan Sultans to be held on Friday (today) here at National Stadium.
“Right from match one all matches have been fairly tough. For every game you prepare your team. The type of preparation which we usually do we have slightly increased its intensity level,” Akram told reporters here at National Stadium on Thursday.
“As we are coming close to the business every match will matter for every team. I feel every team will take its intensity level up and we are also doing that. Thanks God, I am satisfied with our practice session and are ready for the Friday’s game,” said Akram, also a former Test pacer.
After the West Indies’ Darren Sammy was appointed as head coach a few days ago due to his fitness issues Akram, previously also a head coach, would now work as Director Cricket and bowling coach of Peshawar Zalmi, the winners of the PSL 2017.Zalmi are at the second spot with nine points.
Responding to a question about fast bowler Hasan Ali who left the practice session for some time before returning to fielding session, Akram said: “He had some stiffness in his leg. He went off the field for treatment and returned and will participate in full fielding session,” he said.
About the controversial video of Hasan Ali and leggie Yasir Shah, which has been made viral, Akram said they were called in the morning after witnessing that video and deeply advised them.
“They both were ashamed of that. Any such thing is not acceptable in any society, any culture and any sense. They felt ashamed and now we want to concentrate on the game,” Akram said.
“From day-one in the PSL the exposure which youngsters get is the biggest profit,” Akram said, while responding to a question about Haider Ali’s outstanding performance in Pakistan’s major T20 event.
“It’s for all Pakistanis. I mean, for me, for you, for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Every year in the PSL a couple of such youngsters you see. Now you are seeing Haider Ali. I will request the PCB to identify these youngsters and groom them,” Akram conceded.
“There should be no hurry in anything. I have also talked to the selectors as plenty of youngsters are being seen. The grooming system should be made better. There is a talent, no doubt,” he said.
“The three boys who I see in my team are Under-19. Amir Ali, who belongs to Dadu. He is a good left-arm spinner. Similarly, Amir Khan, who belongs to district Swat. He is a very good fast bowler. Every team has lifted solid youngsters from the market. PSL is an ideal platform for giving youngsters the exposure as they are being seen here by the whole world,” he said.
Responding to a question Akram said that the decisions to change both captain and coach did not affect the Zalmi.
“Nothing. It was a smooth transition. We know each other as we have been working together for the last four years. Wahab Riaz and Sammy are also very close. It was a smooth transition,” Akram said.
When asked whether scheduling and traveling affect a team’s performance as reportedly said by Quetta Gladiators’ skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on Wednesday at Lahore Akram said, “Yes I agree.”
“I agree with Gladiators’ views. During scheduling it should be kept under consideration how would be the weather at that particular time in a particular city. Normally domestic matches are shifted to Karachi. The fact is that every team should get equal chance,” he said.
About the coronavirus fear Akram said anything which happens cannot be averted. “In the past too such things happened but media was not that vibrant. Now one knows about such issues quickly,” he said.
Akram has played nine Tests and 23 ODIs for Pakistan during 1995 to 2001.

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