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‘It’s like the Brazil of cricket’ – Wasim Akram on Pakistan’s talent factory

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Wasim Akram has called Pakistan “the Brazil of cricket” due to its record of churning out raw talent.

Akram was interviewing Dean Jones on his Youtube show Sawaal Cricket Ka, with the interview seemingly taking place earlier in March when Jones was in Pakistan for the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), in his role as coach of Karachi Kings.

The duo were speaking of Pakistan cricket, when Jones said: “The Pakistanis to international cricket, you bring different techniques, different attitudes. Fast bowlers like yourself and Imran (Khan) and Waqar (Younis) and co.

“And, of course … Mushy (Mushtaq Ahmed) and Shoaib Akhtar of course, and everyone else. You’re the talent factory. You’ve got so much talent here, we always say that in Australia, it’s just a matter of how you harness it.”

That’s when Akram quipped: “Raw talent … it’s like the Brazil of cricket.”

The conversation then moved on to how Pakistan have a habit of throwing their youngsters in at the deep end, although it then took a turn towards the humorous side when Jones wondered if Naseem Shah was indeed 16.

“In Australia, we don’t have kids playing for Australia till they’re 24-25. You’re playing kids at 17-18,” said Jones.

“16 … ” said Akram. “Is it 16?” asked Jones, and Akram said, “Naseem Shah, yeah.”

“Is it 16!?” Jones asked again with a bit of a grin, and Akram caught on: “Lot of people ask me if he’s 16, and I tell them, ‘I’m not his dad, please go and have a look at his birth certificate!’”

“We don’t know about your birth certificate sometimes,” Jones went on. “But all in all, it’s great to see young kids play. In Australia, we want to see the greats like yourself, Imran and Javed bhai and all do their stuff.

“But at the same time, we always like to see a young kid take over the world. We always do, particularly your quicks. They’re always great.”

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