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Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Sachin should bat at least 40 overs":Akram

Former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram says the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar must play a sheet-anchor role for India.

By Faisal Kamal

Not MS Dhoni, not Virender Sehwag and not Yusuf Pathan, Wasim Akram feels Sachin Tendulkar is the man for Team India as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 beckons. He missed the first warm-up match against Australia and made a scratchy 17 against New Zealand on Wednesday in Chennai. Akram feels all is well with the Little Master.
"Sachin should bat at least 40 overs"

"Sachin is key to India's chances. The team has to rally around him to get a big score on board. Tendulkar likes batting for a long period of time. He should stay in the middle for a minimum of 40-45 overs," said Akram, speaking to Mobile ESPN from Karachi on Thursday.

It was not a pleasant sight for an Indian fan when Tendulkar was cleaned up by a slower delivery from Kiwi pacer Tim Southee. Akram believes that the 37-year-old batsman - probably playing his last ICC CWC - should make the best use of his assets.

"If Tendulkar bats for long, India will get over 300 runs every time. With Sachin in the middle, it gives players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh opportunity to play their natural game," said Akram.

Apart from Sachin, even Yuvraj Singh's form is a cause of concern for Team India. The southpaw scored just one against Australia in the 1st warm-up tie before being caught behind off Mitchell Johnson. Akram, though, still backs the talented Punjabi.

"Yuvraj is a very dangerous player. His fielding has certainly improved and is looking a lot fitter after a spate of injuries. He comes from my part of the world - Punjab. We Punjabis are always 'hot and cold'. I know his form is a bit cold right now but with his talent, he needs one good inning," says Akram.

With just hours to go before the meg event kicks off in Mirpur, Akram feels that this is India's best chance to capture the trophy one more time.

"India have really been playing good cricket. I was the first one to say that India are favourites to win the Cup and then everybody joined the chorus. They have the right combination, confidence and have defeated every good team in world cricket. According to me, they are the No.1 team in the world," concluded the Sultan of Swing.

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