'Young Qasim Akram can be like Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik in future'

Sohail Imran
Qasim Akram

Pakistan's Under-19 coach Ijaz Ahmed has tipped young Qasim Akram to become the future Shoaib Malik or Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan cricket.

Malik and Hafeez, both of same age group and mould, are recognised as two of the most reliable all-rounders that are ready to plug any gap and fill any void with their batting, bowling, fielding and even leadership.

Ijaz, who has been given the additional charge of leading Pakistan Shaheens on the upcoming tour of New Zealand, sees a bit of Malik and Hafeez in the young buck as he bowls off-spin and can bat in the middle to lower order.

"Qasim Akram can be a cricketer like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in future," he told Geo Super in a bid to give some insight on what some of the lesser known members of Pakistan Shaheens are like.

It is pertinent to mention here that Ijaz rates Akram very highly and had previously backed him to take Haider Ali's lead and graduate from U-19 to the national team.

The coach also singled out left-handed batsman Imran Rafique as someone with "a lot of potential".

Also on Ijaz's list was left-arm spinner Asfand Ali, regarding whom Ijaz said "I am sure he will represent Pakistan."

Ijaz said that his long-term goal is to ready "three to four players for every position".

He also emphasised the importance of the upcoming tour of New Zealand for the Shaheens' point of view, saying that exposure of conditions Down Under with the A-team will help the players when they graduate to senior side and revisit the same region.

'Young Qasim Akram can be like Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik in future'