Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram has been roped in by Sri Lanka as a mentor for the fast bowlers ahead of their tour to South Africa.
Akram has joined the squad and conducted a day-long coaching clinic in Colombo today. This is a part of many programmes which involves sessions with foreign experts.
The former great heaped praises on the young Sri Lankan pacers and said that they have the pace but need to work on swing to be competitive at the highest level.
"Most of the bowlers had a pace of 130 to 140 kmph (kilometres per hour). The idea now is to teach them to plan and outfox the batsmen," Akram said.
The left-armer said that slow pitches are the characteristics of Indian subcontinent, but then this should not deter young bowlers who should believe in themselves and should acquire the requisite skill sets needed to thrive in International cricket.
Wasim was also joined by former Sri Lankan great Chaminda Vaas and Arvinda de Silva who looked out for talent at the grassroots.
Thilanga Sumathipala, Sri Lanka Cricket Chief informed that they have offered a contract for two years to Akram and will mentor young local players over the next two years. He would also pay a visit to the nation at least twice every year.
"We have invited him to be with us in the next two years as our consultant in pace bowling," said Sumathipala.
Arguably the greatest left-arm fast bowler to have played the game, Akram took 414 Test wickets and 502 in 356 one-day internationals – both of which are still a Pakistan record.
The legend is visibly excited at this role and was present during the annual awards night which is conducted by Sri Lanka cricket.
“What I like about the country is the positive energy that generates from the people. Everyone in Sri Lanka is happy and with a smile on their face. When I walk on the road I feel safe and it’s like my second home. People smile and say hello and some want to take selfies,” he said.
He also praised the robust schooling system which has churned out many International players over the years.
Sri Lanka will play their first Test match on Boxing day and considering the conditions and form of the South African team this tour promises to be a tough one for the Island nation.
Watch: One of Wasim Akram’s finest spell of bowling in Test cricket
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