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Dravid should back his players: Akram

The former Pakistani bowler criticised Chappell's decision of dropping Pathan for Antigua Test.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 18:34 IST

Fast bowling legend Wasim Akram has taken India coach Greg Chappell to task for dropping Irfan Pathan for the first cricket Test against the West Indies on the pretext that his confidence was low.

"I don't know why Pathan has been dropped. Coach Greg Chappell has said his confidence is low. But when a player's confidence is low he should be played and not dropped. He is one of the experienced bowlers. There was need to play him and not drop him to save him," Akram said.

The former Pakistan captain was also not impressed by the constant changes in composition and strategies of the Indian side and said such experiments could not go on forever.

"You can experiment for four-six months but you can't experiment all the time. Every player needs confidence and I am saying this from experience," he said.

"You get confidence when the captain and coach back you and not when the coach goes out and tells everyone that the player's confidence is low," said the former left-arm bowler, who took 414 wickets in 104 Test matches, in Mumbai.

Akram, who is on a promotional visit to India, pointed out that every player goes through a bad patch in his career.

"Everyone goes through a bad patch in his career. I have gone through it. Kapil Dev and Imran Khan have gone through it too. I think you must play him (Pathan). If he is not injured and he has been dropped then it is wrong," he said.

Akram, however, did not agree that Pathan's batting was affecting his bowling.

"Batting never affects the bowler. You just have to go out there and enjoy doing it. I hope Irfan also does the same when batting. He has to believe in himself and work hard."

He was also surprised over the omission of Ajit Agarkar, India's best pacer in the one-day series, for the four-match Test rubber.

"As a captain if I had a bowler who had done well in one-dayers and has experience I will pick him and not a bowler who's not played before, especially when the morale of the team is down," Akram said.

"I don't know who's suggesting all this, but Rahul Dravid should stand up and back his players," he added.

At the same time, the former cricketer said people should have patience when youngsters are inducted into the squad.

"It will take a while for the youngsters in the team to settle down. Every youngster takes at least a year to settle down. Ups and downs will be there. One needs to be patient," he explained.

Akram admitted that the 4-1 one-day series victory for the West Indies had come as a surprise for him, saying he had expected India to defeat the hosts after their comprehensive victory over England at home.

First Published: Jun 06, 2006 16:31 IST