Akram dejected over CT postponement; says its a big blow for Pak

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New Delhi, Aug 29 (UNI) Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram today said the postponement of the Champions Trophy, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan this September, is a major impediment for cricket in the strife-torn country.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) rescheduled the prestigious tournament to October next year after players from Australia, South Africa and England expressed reservations about playing in Pakistan, which has been rocked by suicide bombings over the past few months.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seven-day cricket camp here, Akram said, ''I should say yes, the postponement of Champions Trophy is a big blow for Pakistan.'' ''I really don't know why the South Africa team refused to participate in the tournament in Pakistan, even after initially giving their nod. It is also unfortunate that Australia and England also raised security concern,'' Akram, who have taken 414 and 502 wickets in his Test and One day matches, said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the tournament till next year after security concerns were raised by South Africa, Australia, England cricket boards.

The former Pakistan captain was, however, disappointed with the situation back home.

He said the Pakistan Cricket Board was struggling to put the things in order after its Chairman Nasim Ashraf resigned recently.

''The PCB is in shambles now. They have no Chairman, no direction. We are really struggling to recover,'' Akram said.

Speaking on dope-tainted cricketer Mohammad Asif, Akram said the speedster was young and deserved another chance.

''He is only 23-year-old now. He has committed a mistake, but I would like to give him another chance,'' he said.

Expressing displeasure on Pakistan skipper Shaoib Malik, Akram said, ''Once I recommended his name as Pakistan captain to the PCB but he has not delivered. Malik should believe on himself and lead from the front.'' UNI PY AB RAI2118

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