Friday, February 8, 2008

India should persist with youngsters, says Wasim

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is of the opininon that India should persist with youngsters in the shorter version of the game for long-term results.

Analysing the team's performance during the first ODI of the Commonwealth Bank Series for Mobile ESPN, Akram said: "It seemed at the beginning that they would lose, but they fought back very well. A young team can only improve from here."

The former pacer said it was a "brave decision" to win the toss and elect to bat at Brisbane and it showed that India had enough faith in its bowlers.

"When you bat on such a wicket, you have to think what is your strength - you can either defend or chase. They bowled very well even after the overs were curtailed (due to a rain stoppage). One-day wickets are not like this in India and Pakistan and it will take some time to get used to," he said.

His advice to India, who were rocked on the back foot after the loss of early wickets, was to see off the new ball.

"India must see off the new ball, and especially against Australia must see off Brett Lee. Even if he gives just 30 runs from 10 overs, the idea is not to give him a wicket," said Akram.
The pace legend said India would also do well to give the new ball to tall and lanky pacer Ishant Sharma rather than to Irfan Pathan.

"In one-day, the new ball should be given to Ishant Sharma. He's pitching the ball at perfect length and he is a wicket-taking bowler. Irfan will struggle a bit."

Akram said Robin Uthappa should come in to bat at number five against Sri Lanka in the second ODI on Tuesday. "Uthappa should come in at number five and Dhoni should be at six or seven. He is more dangerous in the last overs. As long as India can keep wickets in hand, they will get more runs," he said.

He said the fact that Australia and India had split points after the match was abandoned due to rain would help the visitors. "These points will come in handy when they look to qualify for the final."

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