New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) S Sreesanth and Rohit Sharma''somissions from India''s 15-man squad for the forthcoming WorldCup have left the legendary Wasim Akram surprised.
"Sree has been bowling quite well in recent times and haspicked wickets in Test matches. He runs in, comes close to thewicket and has comeback with a much-improved attitude. I wouldhave definitely included him in the World Cup squad," saidAkram.
Sreesanth was a big influence in the recently-concludedTest series against South Africa, keeping the Proteas at baywith his aggression.
As far as Sharma was concerned, Akram said he has tolearn it the "hard way".
"He is such a talented player. But Rohit has to learn itthe hard way. Once you don''t score runs consistently this isbound to happen. I feel sorry for him," the former Pakistancaptain said.
Akram, however, praised the selectors for striking theright combination and picking a balanced team.
"Not only does India�s batting look good but there isalso a lot of variety in bowling. I feel the selectors havestruck the right balance. Under (MS) Dhoni''s leadership, theteam seems to be doing well," he said.
The left-arm seamer, who literally toyed with the best ofbatting line-ups the world over during his heydays, saidIndia''s fortunes in the tournament would depend a lot on thesenior players.
"The seniors are the backbone of this Indian team.
Players like Sachin Tendukar and Virender Sehwag are the bestin the business. Many have opined picking injury-prone playerslike Sachin, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir is not a wise decision,but I feel Tendulkar''s presence is a must.
"India can afford to think of Sachin''s replacement onlyif he is not fit a week ahead of the World Cup," Akram wrotein ''espnstar.com''.
About Piyush Chawla''s inclusion, which raised quite a feweyebrows, Akram said it was a wise decision by the selectors.
"The pure cricketing reason for Piyush Chawla''s selectionis that he is a leg-spinner and in sub-continental conditions,he has the variety, including a googly, which can come handyon turning tracks," he said.
"These small yet critical selection calls are taken afterdiscussions with the captain and coach. I am sure they havemade the decision on Chawla keeping everyone in the loop."
"As far as the team is concerned, it will go into theWorld Cup with a lot of confidence irrespective of the resultin the ODI series in South Africa. The World Cup is adifferent ball game altogether where past results don''t count.
Playing in front passionate home fans can be really inspiring.
The expectations are high but then the Indian boys are good athandling them.
Akram also praised Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra for theircontributions to the team.