Former Pakistan pace great Waqar Younis expressed his concern over the declining pace of Pakistan fast bowlers during the first Test against Australia at Perth. Pakistan lost the first Test by 360 runs and is preparing to fight back into the series in the second Test, a Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from Tuesday onwards. In the Perth Test, the Pakistan pace attack consisting of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Khurram Shehzad, Aamer Jamal and Faheem Ashraf had some impressive moments in which they made Australia batters uneasy with their bowling, made them toil hard for runs.
But despite that, none of these bowlers consistently touched the speeds of 140 kmph or above, a hallmark of Pakistan pace bowling and infact, all of modern-day genuine fast bowling.
This lack of speed has grabbed the attention of the Pakistani great and disappointed him to an extent that he termed the bowling in the first Test as “medium pace”.
“Another thing that I am worried about is that always when we come to Australia, one thing that excites is the fast bowling and this time around I am not seeing that,” he said on ESPN’s Around The Wicket show.
“I am seeing medium-pacers or slow-medium-pacers, allrounders, there is no real pace. People used to come and watch Pakistan pace bowlers really running in hard and bowling 150 clicks [kph], and that is what I am not seeing there.”
“That is my worry and issue because I have not seen it at the domestic level also. There are a few injured, I can understand, but in the past, you would always see a battery of fast bowlers that they could always bring on, but unfortunately, that is not there and I am really worried about that,” concluded Waqar.
Speedster Naseem Shah, who missed out on the recently-concluded ICC Cricket World Cup in India is a huge loss for the team and they have suffered without his presence. Also, Haris Rauf, a pillar of Pakistan white-ball pace bowling, opted to represent Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League (BBL) instead of playing in whites due to workload issues. In this situation, a lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of Shaheen if they want to challenge Aussies in their home territory.
Waqar expressed concerns over Shaheen’s loss of pace and said that if he is facing some issues, he needs to take some time off and fix them instead of declining to a medium pacer.
“I am not really sure what is wrong with him,” he said.
“If he is not fit, if he has got some issues, he needs to go away from the game and fix that because if you are going to carry on like that you are going to become a medium-pacer. He used to bowl 145-150kph and used to swing that ball. What I am seeing now, yes there’s a little bit of swing but his pace is way down… and that is not going to get him wickets.”
“Watching the first Test match was painful. We had moments, we had opportunities where we could have pulled the game back a bit but we did not take the opportunities. When Pakistan come to Australia they have to make sure their fielding is spotless… because Australia batsmen, if you give them opportunities, they will take it with both hands and make it big and that’s what we saw in Perth,” concluded Waqar.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article