Disappointed with Indian youngsters: Akram
New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has said that the performance of most of the Indian fringe players during the ODI series against the West Indies has been disappointing.
Insisting that players like S Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel and Manoj Tiwary though made the ODI squad on the basis of their domestic performance and the IPL, failed to grab the opportunities in the Caribbean.
"India may have won the ODI series 3-2 against a new-look West Indian side, but I don`t think the selectors will be happy with the performance of some of the fringe players who made the ODI squad because a clutch of seniors were unavailable," Akram was quoted as saying by a website.
"Indian cricket is full of talented players and an opportunity wasted means you may never wear the national cap again. At the same time, any international assignment is a test of your ability. The West Indies team may not have looked great on paper but they did well to reduce the victory margin," he added.
Akram also said that these youngsters have a long way to go before they could match the skills of the legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
"The fact that Rahul Dravid is completing 15 years of Test cricket at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica only strengthens the belief that the fittest survive in this
amazing game. Men like Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are true legends. They have lasted because of their discipline and of course, their eagerness to perform at every available stage," he said.
The 45-year-old, however, heaped praises on middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, saying that he proved himself in the West Indies.
"I had always believed in Rohit Sharma. He has loads of talent and this time he proved himself in the West Indies. By becoming the Man of the Series, Rohit has only improved his chances to become a regular member of the national team.
"Now, he should focus on playing Test cricket and if Rohit has to compete with the likes of Kohli and Raina, consistent performance is the only way forward," he said.
Akram also had a word of appreciation for Suresh Raina`s captaincy, who led the team in the five-match ODI series in the absence of regular skipper M S Dhoni.
"Raina`s captaincy was promising. It`s not easy to lead a team against any opposition but he would have learnt from the mistakes made during the ODI series. The Indian selectors must be appreciated because they are grooming a youngster to lead India in the future," he said.
Akram said that it would be interesting to watch the Test series where he is expecting to see Dravid and Laxman score big hundreds.
"Dhoni will have his first-choice team for the Test matches. The Indians must make the most of the three Tests. West Indies doesn`t produce those deadly tracks anymore and India must bat long on these slow turning wickets.
"I am sure Dravid and Laxman will score a few big hundreds in what will surely be their last tour of the Caribbean."
Stating that West Indies might not be the best of preparations, Akram said that the Test series however would be good warm up to the series against England.
"Although the conditions in England will be hugely different, India must play the Caribbean bowlers, especially the quickies, well. England`s true ability at their backyard is there to see.
"The Lankans have struggled and even their best batsmen have failed to come good in seaming and swinging conditions. Dhoni and team must watch out," warned Akram.