Dubai: UAE wickets will be suitable for Indian Premier League (IPL), feels legendary Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram, currently the bowling adviser to the Kolkata Knight Riders team.
Speaking to Gulf News during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 Cup where he was one of the commentators for the event, Akram said: “Wickets in the UAE are ideal for Twenty20 cricket. It has been proved during the Pakistan team’s series with other countries and hence it should be exciting for the spectators.”
Akram had taken a break last season from being the bowling adviser to KKR due to personal reasons. “I will be guiding the team during the entire tournament and I have always enjoyed the role,” said Akram, whose tips have sharpened the team’s bowling attack. “There will be huge interest for the IPL this year because of the involvement of the expatriates too. Since large number of expatriates live in the UAE, it is also an opportunity for them to be part of this tournament,” added Akram, who revealed that he had always enjoyed cricket in UAE as a player. “The feeling of playing in Sharjah used to be special and IPL will bring back that excitement back to the UAE,” he added. Akram felt that UAE is the ideal place for IPL outside India due to many factors. “I am sure IPL will be a bigger success than when it was held in South Africa. The mere volume of people will prove it as there are more fans of the different teams in the UAE than in any other country outside India. The enthusiasm will be fantastic,” said Akram, who took charge as KKR’s bowling adviser in 2010.
Talking about his team, Akram said: “Our squad has got a good bowling attack in pacers in Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins and Umesh Yadav while the spin department is also strong.
“We have a good allround squad which includes players like Jacques Kallis, one of the greatest allrounders, West Indies pinner Sunil Narine who is among the finest spinners in the game and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan with his allround skills. Above all, a captain in Gautam Gambhir who has been very inspiring,” said Akram, who plans to oversee the team’s six-day training in Abu Dhabi before the start of the tournament.
Referring to players like West Indian Andre Russell and Ryan ten Doeschate of The Netherlands, Akram said they would also bring value in the team.