Lahore: Pakistan's bowling coach Mohammad Akram is likely to face the heat after the lacklustre showing by the pace attack in their recent 0-3 drubbing in the Test series against South Africa. Sources close to the team have claimed the bowlers have little respect for Akram and primarily don't take his advice or tips seriously.
"The reason is Akram played few Tests for Pakistan and with 17 wickets doesn't have an impressive international cricket background. Plus, when his appointment was made it was seen as a questionable one as there were other better candidates available. Also, there is talk that he got the job because of political pressure," a source said.
The criticism against Akram is not surprising given the vagaries of Pakistan cricket where those in power positions usually face such questions after a bad series. Pakistan's inexperienced pace attack disappointed in the series with Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Muhammad Irfan, Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil grabbed just 19 wickets in the series at an expensive average of 45.89.
In comparison South African pacers grabbed 53 wickets at an average of 17.58. Pakistan's most experienced bowler, Umar Gul took just five wickets at an average of 46.80 on pace friendly wickets in the two Tests he played putting a big question mark on his future as a Test player.
Sources say that Akram also failed to read the pitches in South Africa and prepare a comprehensive pace plan for the opponents. "He himself was lost and whatever he said to the players was never taken seriously. Akram was also unable to give proper advice or even convince the head coach and captain about which pacers should play in the Tests," the source said.
Pakistan ended up fielding a debutant and two pacers with just one Test experience behind them in the final Test that Pakistan lost by an innings and 18 runs inside three days. "Keep in mind that these bowlers had become used to having someone like Waqar Younis around to help them till 2011," the source added.