Afridi will be under pressure: Akram

New Delhi: Shahid Afridi will be under tremendous pressure as it is a difficult time for him to become the one-day skipper in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal, feels former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram.

"Pakistan start their final phase of their tour of England on Thursday. The warm-up game against Somerset at Taunton will see the return of Shahid Afridi as captain. Afridi will be under massive pressure to ensure the team plays good cricket. The situation is not ideal for him to take over as ODI skipper," Akram told reporters.

"But more than anything, Afridi will first have to ensure that he commands the respect of his teammates. It is imperative that a leader shows character and spreads goodwill. Having left the team in the lurch at critical times, Afridi has to win the trust of his mates first. Only then performance will follow," he added.

The Pakistan cricket is going through its worse ever crisis with three of its players -- Test skipper Salman Butt, pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir – under investigation for their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scam, which was exposed by a sting operation.

Akram said Pakistan will need a motivator who can lift the morale of team to win the twenty20 matches.

"A losing team needs a motivator. After the horrible Test defeat against England, I can`t find the person who will lift the morale of the current Pakistani team.”

"Fortunately, Pakistan will be playing the T20s first. Both matches are at Cardiff and the seamers should have a good time. Pakistan definitely have the capability to win the T20 games. Probably that will ignite the team ahead of the 5-match ODIs to follow," he said.

Talking about India`s recent loss in the finals of the tri-series against Sri Lanka, Akram said the batting of the Indian team is over-dependent on Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, which is a worrying sign.

"More than losing the series in Lanka, I have spotted a worrying sign in the Indian batting line-up. The over-dependence on Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag is very clear," the former seamer said.

"Since Tendulkar was not available, the entire pressure was on Sehwag. And once Sehwag perished, India collapsed. This means the middle-order is not playing its part. The Indian selectors have got some work to do ahead of the Australian series," he added.


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