Don't Pin All The Blame On Kamran, Says Waqar
PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka, March 8, 2011 (AFP) -Coach Waqar Younis admitted dropped catches by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal cost Pakistan the match against New Zealand but praised Ross Taylor for the innings of a lifetime.
Taylor, who benefited from two astonishing let-offs by Kamran, hit a career-best unbeaten 131 to fire his side to 302-7 before New Zealand dismissed Pakistan for 192 in a key Group A match at Pallekele stadium.
Waqar admitted the catches -- both off paceman Shoaib Akhtar, with Taylor on nought and eight -- were easy chances and cost Pakistan dear.
But he said Kamran, often the target of criticism due to his fumbles behind the stumps, should not take all of the blame for the defeat.
"I don't think this is the time to put the blame on someone. It's a fact that he didn't do the best keeping, the standard was not good and he dropped a few catches," said Waqar.
"Those were straight sitters, it was not as if they were difficult catches, but then it's cricket and such things do happen. It was a bad day for him as he dropped catches which really cost us the game," he added.
But former paceman Waqar also said credit should go to Taylor, adding: "I guess the way he played, you play just one or two innings like that in your life."
The coach ruled out dropping Kamran.
"I think maybe after the World Cup, we can think about it but now we are in the middle of the tournament and I don't think we can make such a change and panic. We should not."
Waqar said poor bowling in the closing overs of New Zealand's innings, with Pakistan conceding a whopping 100 runs in the last five overs, proved costly.
"Without a doubt it was a huge turning point to give chance to somebody like Taylor, who's a top player in their side. It cost us but we also bowled poorly," said Waqar.
Waqar said his team must regroup before their next game against Zimbabwe at the same ground on Monday.
"We are not going to panic, that's the important thing. If we panic here we're really going to struggle in this tournament. There are still big games to come. We've got Australia to handle and then we go to the quarter-finals," said Waqar.
Pakistan have six points from four matches and are second in Group A behind New Zealand on net run-rate. Sri Lanka are third and defending champions Australia fourth.