Pakistan's fast bowling needs a lift: Hafeez

Umar Gul bowls during a practice session – Photo by AFP
Umar Gul bowls during a practice session – Photo by AFP

PALLEKELE: Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez admitted his faltering pace bowlers were a concern ahead of the Super Eights round where big teams can capitalise on their weakness.

Pakistan thumped Bangladesh by eight wickets in Pallekele on Tuesday, with Imran Nazir hitting a career best 72 as Pakistan comfortably chased down a 176-run target with eight balls to spare in the group D match.

But they head into the next round with a question mark on their pace bowlers, with experienced Umar Gul conceding 43 off his three overs and Sohail Tanveer going for 25 in his three.

Pakistan faces explosive matches against formidable South Africa (Friday), arch-rivals India (Sunday) and Australia (Tuesday) in Colombo, and Hafeez said their fast bowling needed a lift.

“Yes, there is a bit of concern as a captain. Our fast bowlers are not producing in the manner that they can,” Hafeez said after the match. “We expect Colombo pitch to turn a bit more, these pitches (here) were slightly different.”

Gul, joint second wicket-taker with team-mate Shahid Afridi with 60, went for 39 in his three overs during Pakistan's 13-run win over New Zealand in the first game.

Hafeez said he believed Gul will stage a comeback quickly.

“Gul is a good bowler and has bowled well in limited overs cricket, so I hope he will improve in the next matches,” said Hafeez, who promised no let-up in the next round.

“We know that every team can beat anyone else in T20. We aren't going to relax even a little bit. We know we have to work hard,” said Hafeez, who praised a complete team effort in all matches.

“The best thing is that whatever role we assign to players they're putting in maximum effort to do the job. All 15 in our squad are match winners and this team is united in trying to do the best for Pakistan,” said Hafeez.

Pakistan finished runners-up to India in the inaugural World Twenty20 held in South Africa in 2007 before winning the next, held in England two years later.

They were losing semi-finalists in the last World Twenty20 held in the Caribbean in 2010.

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Comments (16) Closed

Sep 27, 2012 03:12pm
I don't understand why Junaid Khan is not selected in this squad. It is mind boggling that a match winner like Junaid Khan is left out.
Sep 26, 2012 04:14pm
Umar Gul performance is pathetic & like a club bowler.Please give chance to Razzaq,he is an allrounder & can perform much better than Gul. In all matches just look his face impression, he himself looks confused and frustated. It is a big tournament and our all opponents in upcoming matches are well prepared and strong in all departments & their top order batsmen will thrash Gul's bowling like tennis ball. Not his bowling his fielding is also costing matches in the past. Take my words his bowling and fielding will be very expensive to us. look his 3 over spell and giving away 43 runs to Bangladeshi openers, imagine what Shewag,Ghambir,Watson,Amla.D'Olivier,Warner and other heavy hitters will do to him. How much more he desreves to be tried,BIG ? I wish good luck to our side
Sep 26, 2012 09:36pm
He has forgotten to bowl yorkers. And I don't get what Akram is doing with the team as a coach!
Sep 27, 2012 02:53am
Pakistan Cricket need to try new fast bowlers, I am sure that there is plenty of talent which must be tapped and exploited, Rana Naveed is doing well, why he was not selected, Selection must be done professional by competent selectors of repute.
Sep 27, 2012 04:14am
In the first place the nation wants to know what improvement has been made in the bowling performances of Umer Gul (gave 82 runs in 6 overs of 2 matches at an average of 13.66 runs/over) and Sohail Tanvir (besides poor bowling performances his fielding is worst in the world), by our bowling coach M Akram, who is himself a fast bowler? The nation also wants to know rather than any improvement, why the fast bowlers are going down the hill and becoming a burden of the team? Moreover, the team management should also put to use its brain, that if Abdur Razzaq is played, not only bowling, but our fielding and particularly, batting gets a big boast. Muhammad Sami should also be considered in place of Sohail Tanvir or an additional batsman like Asad Shafiq may be played, leaving out ST, who looks like as if he is being forced to play against his wish.
Sep 27, 2012 08:46am
You can not expect anything better when you have great failure Mohammad Akram as a bowling coach. I bet that if Razzaq bowl 4 overs, he can not go for more than 36 runs for sure.Atleast he has a cool head.
Sep 26, 2012 01:59pm
Junaid Khan produced 5 wicket hauls on Cold Dead Tracks, that guy bowls with intent. You leave him back home and bring along liabilities like Sami and even Sohail Tanvir, well this was inevitable. And why on earth isn't Razzaq playing?
Merchant Iqbal
Sep 26, 2012 02:00pm
As I wrote before,to be champion Pakistan has to do a lot more.Now we are facing a very good sides in super eight.Our group is strongest.There is no chance to make mistakes.I am still worried about our fast bowlers.They have to bowl as per weakness of opposing batsman.They should use slow ball,Yorkers and bouncer cleverly.Emphasis on to bowl according to field not experiment.Our slogers specialy Imran Nazir and Umer Akmal should keep fielders in mind while playing their shots.Once again I would like to see Asad Shafiq. In our batting line up. Wish you all the best.go green and bring world cup.
Sep 28, 2012 01:33am
I 100% agree with Arqum's question why Junaid khan was not selected? Open left arm pacer attack always brings pressre to opponents. Our legendary Wasim Akram is a living example even a polished batsman think twice to hit eyes closed like Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir have been hit (Sixes) at will. Gul and Tanvir are spent bullets, they bowl wide and no balls very often in most of their overs. Dropping catches/misfielding has become their trade mark. Coach,management,mr.professor think about it and do not rely on spent bullets. Wishing our team best of luck for world cup
Hamid Memon
Sep 27, 2012 08:03am
Why no chance to other deserving uptill how long we will depend on Umer Gul and Sohail Tanvier . What a performance they both have given with ball and in the field.What kind of favour they both are enjoying. Do Sami and Razzaq are their only to watch. With such performance we think that the team will play super 8 only.Still time with you to give the job to right bowlers.
Imran Quraishi
Sep 27, 2012 01:37am
Hafeez himself is to be blamed for this.First he refused to accomodate Junaid Khan and instead wanted to go with Sami and secondly he ignored Wahab Riaz.
Sep 27, 2012 01:46am
fast bowling dept needs an overhaul. this is a team where MATCH WINNERS like sohail tanvir play. what more can be expected. gul needs some guidance from the coach and support from another pacer. and as far as spin is concerned, we are not even depending on spin now but we are just depending on ajmal.
Imran Quraishi
Sep 26, 2012 05:28pm
Too bad Mr. You yourself are to be blamed for this blunder cuz you refused to include Junaid Khan in the squad and preferred Sami over him. Iqbal Qasim told Pak Passion when confronted about why Junaid was not included in the squad and blamed you for this senseless blunder. You even don't like Wahab Riaz who is even better than Junaid. Both are match winners and if we had the services of those two bowlers then we would be in good shape but thanks to you" Mr Professor " that your team is lacking in this department. Blame yourself for this not the current bowlers in the squad as you had the last say to the selection of the final 15.
Mohammed Baluch
Sep 26, 2012 08:27pm
Gul and Tanwir both tense up, causing them to make mistakes. Gul was bowling 142 kph or so against BD - making him lose line and length. His comfort zone is mid-130's - then he has perfect control over line and length. He also has a hard time against left handed batsmen - as does Tanwir. They have to bowl well as a pair - otherwise, the batsmen relax playing the weaker of the two, and then gradually get on top. Steyn and Morkel attack as a pair, as do Cummins and Starc. So do Broad, Finn - as did Wasim/Waqar and Amir/Gul. And now Ajmal/Afridi. Play relaxed, and play your best. And let the better team win on a given day!
Ashraf Bugti
Sep 26, 2012 03:14pm
Umar Gul and Sohail Tanveer need a good bowling coach.. Is thers no bowling coach.. They need to bowl very tight spells in next match otherwise Pakistan have no chance against next teams.. Also need to improve sloppy fielding. Where is that feilding coach gone Mr Feilding? Is he just relaxing!!! and paid for fun!!! Come on Umar you are Pastun you can show the Pathan spirit and do it in next 3 matches... May be you can try Razzaq instead and Umar Gul need a rest for next match.. He must be exhausted..
Sep 26, 2012 02:33pm
This news has surprised me because Pakistan is having a Fast bowling coach And there is no Spin bowling coach, which even Bangladesh is having in the form of Saqlain Mushtaq This shows that Mohammad Akram has failed so far. He is not grooming fast bowlers, He was supposed to help them But his show so far, is disappointing