KARACHI – Pakistan’s bowling legend Waqar Younis, who still considers cricketing giant Imran Khan his role model, has said Imran became his “godfather” by giving him a chance to represent Pakistan national side.

Commenting on his first class cricket career, the 45-year-old cricketer said players like him (Waqar), Inzamam-ul Haq and Muhammad Mushtaq always waited for the great Imran Khan sitting outside the grounds just to catch a glimpse of him.

Pakistan’s former head coach and skipper continued: “I was playing for UBL in Lahore when the legendary cricketer watched my pace and selected me for Sharjah tour”, the former pacer disclosed while talking to Geo News’s programme on Wednesday.

Talking about the batsman’s glaring omission over the past few years, the former pacer said Fawad has the talent to make it into the team again, particularly after the middle-order void created by the retirement of legendary duo of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

“Look, there are only 15 players in the squad. I feel sad for Fawad Alam. He is a talented player. But now with the middle-order vacancy created after Misbah and Younis’ retirement, he may be able to secure his spot in the team again,” Waqar said.

Waqar said he believes Babar Azam, Umar Amin and Haris Sohail are also good contenders to fill Misbah and Younis’ boots.

“They are all talented players but it will take a very long time to replace the legendary duo of Misbah and Younis,” the ‘Burewala Express’ was quick to add.

“Umar Akmal needs to focus on his fitness. Talent alone is not good enough. Hard work, discipline and fitness are equally necessary,” he said, adding that he fully agrees with Arthur’s uncompromising stance on players’ fitness.

“We need to focus on improving our stadiums, especially now that international cricket is returning to Pakistan. After World XI, more teams will follow, and our grounds need to be prepared for that,” he said, adding that there was also need to improve the home pitches.

“We won the Champions Trophy and that is great. But that does not mean everything is perfect here. We must continue to improve our domestic cricket,” he stressed.