London: Former Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis has expressed regret at the relationship he shared with ex-teammate Wasim Akram during the duo’s playing days, UK based sports website reported on Friday.

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, the 44-year-old said that issues between them negatively affected Pakistan. “He [Wasim] didn’t only have issues with me, but we had issues in the team in those days, which yes, I do regret at times because you know it did not really help Pakistan cricket,” he said. “However, when we walked on to the field, it was a different ball game altogether. We wanted to compete [with] each other, we wanted to take more wickets than the other one, and I think in a way it helped.”

The former captain also said that he feels the standard of first-class cricket in the country has diminished with too many teams being involved, and advocated increasing competition to produce quality cricketers on international arena.

“I think the system was a little bit better than what we have now,” he said about his playing days. “We had lesser teams, and therefore we had more quality in cricket. Nowadays, I feel that first-class cricket has just been been gifted away, there have been too many guys playing cricket.”

He added: “I don’t want to take cricket away from any kid from Pakistan. They all deserve it. But I think it’s important that first-class cricket should be played by fewer people. There should be a serious competition, that’s how you produce top cricketers and I feel that is lacking in Pakistan at the moment.”

The former head coach also said that fast bowling was a natural act and credited the system which encouraged him to go full tilt without sacrificing on pace.