Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has paid rich tribute to the retired fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and said it would be difficult to find an ideal replacement for the enigmatic pacer, who retired after the World Cup.
"Shoaib was a big name in Pakistan cricket and there is no doubt that he left an impact on the team. It is never easy to replace such players but I guess every player has to sometime call it a day," Waqar said during an interaction with the media in the city.
Akhtar had announced his retirement after the World Cup match against New Zealand in which he was bludgeoned for 28 runs in one over by the Kiwi batsmen.
The tour selection committee did not play Akhtar after that match although they were calls for him to be included in the team for the semi-final against India.
Waqar said that the tour selection committee took the best possible decision, keeping in mind the requirements of the team.
"No one doubts that Shoaib has given some great service to Pakistan cricket and it will be hard to find a replacement for him but it is also a fact that every cricketer has to call it a day sometime in his career," Waqar added.
The Chairman of the Pakistan cricket board Ijaz Butt said this week that it was a shame that there was no culture in Pakistan for senior players to retire at the right time. "In Pakistan, we have an issue where senior players can't decide themselves when it is time for them to call it a day and unfortunately the board than has to take this decision," Butt had said.
Shoaib since returning from the World Cup has maintained a low profile despite reports now emerging that majority of the players in the team wanted the management to select him for the semi-final against India that Pakistan lost by 29 runs.
Waqar also spoke about the forthcoming tour to the West Indies and admitted that since both teams had announced new players in their squads it should be a relatively easier series.
"The World Cup is a benchmark for teams and normally after a World Cup the idea is to rebuild the team and introduce new players while giving rest to seniors or dropping some of them.
"It will be a challenge for me to oversee the introduction of these new players into international cricket and to guide them on how to adjust and perform to this top level of the sport," the former Test captain said.
The Pakistan coach said that it was a good opportunity for the new players to impress in the coming series and cement their places in the national team.