Irfan best choice to fill into the team’s all rounder slot: Akram

New Delhi: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram has lauded Indian selectors’ decision to include Irfan Pathan for the current Sri Lanka tour and feels that he is the best player around to fill into the team’s all rounder slot.

“He only needs a longer run to get his confidence back. I think Pathan is a better choice than any other all-rounder in India. He has improved a lot. I think it’s important for Pathan and India that they need somebody at number seven or eight who can bowl and bat and this guy has got the ability," Akram told from London.

Pathan made the cut after Vinay Kumar pulled out of the Lankan series due to shoulder injury. He was dropped from the national side after a not-so-impressive run with the ball in Australia and in the Asia Cup where he ended with only 11 wickets from seven games.

The former Pakistani speedster also thought that national selectors made a great move by naming Laxmipathy Balaji in the 30-man preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 to be played in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7.

"Balaji is only 30 and I am glad that Indian selectors picked him. He is experienced with the slower bouncers, yorkers, and swings the new ball as well. I think Balaji will be very handy and useful for India. I know him very well as he plays for my team Kolkata Knight Riders. He has clever bowling strategies and a very good mindset," he added.

Balaji last played an ODI in 2009 against Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile the Pakistani pace legend said that he cannot wait for the star Indian all rounder Yuvraj Singh back in action.

"He is a very strong man, he's been through a lot and I think he'll be fine. Once Yuvraj starts playing he might not do well in one or two games, but once he gets his fitness back, he'll be Yuvraj of the old. I can't wait to see him," the Pakistani pace legend added further.

Yuvraj who has recovered from a germ-cell cancer, has been in the probables list for the T20 World Cup.