Young speedsters in Pakistan team gives Waqar hope

Updated November 14, 2019

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National team’s bowling coach Waqar Younis believes that the induction of young guns like Nasim Shah, Mohammad Musa Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan in the squad for the two-match Test series against Australia would mark the birth of a new era for Pakistan cricket. — Photo courtesy PCB/File
National team’s bowling coach Waqar Younis believes that the induction of young guns like Nasim Shah, Mohammad Musa Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan in the squad for the two-match Test series against Australia would mark the birth of a new era for Pakistan cricket. — Photo courtesy PCB/File

PERTH: National team’s bowling coach Waqar Younis believes that the induction of young guns like Nasim Shah, Mohammad Musa Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan in the squad for the two-match Test series against Australia would mark the birth of a new era for Pakistan cricket.

Pakistan made an unprecedented move by naming 16-year-old Nasim and two 19-year-olds -- Musa and Shaheen -- in their Test squad along with Abbas, who starred against Australia in the UAE last year, and seamer Imran. Imran (5-32) and Afridi (2-42) executed their class against Australia ‘A’ in Perth in the first innings of their three-day tour match.

“They both bowled well and troubled the Aussie batsmen every time they were on,” brisbanetimes.com.au quoted Waqar as saying.

Waqar, who was inducted as the Bradman Foundation honoree on Wednesday there, feels Pakistan can match it with Australia in the pace bowling department. “Coming to Australia is a different ball game. You need a pace attack and since Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have retired from the longer versions this has given an opportunity to the selectors as well as to the boys,” he said.

“These youngsters are very talented. It’s a matter of how quickly they learn and how quickly they adapt to pressure. All they have to do at the moment is stay fit. They’re very tender, they’re very young, but it’s not easy.

“If they can get through this tour, going forward, they can really help Pakistan in the near future,” the legendary bowler added.

Waqar said all three teens can bowl north of 145kmh, which would suit Australian conditions much more than it would if they were taking part in their first Test series on the subcontinent.

“I came on my first tour of Australia back in 1989-90 and I learnt a lot. It gives you all the perspective. If you do well your name becomes big very, very quickly and these guys have a great opportunity. All of them have what it takes to do well at Test match level but we just have to remember that they’re very young. Its going to be a great learning curve for them.”

Waqar was also confident that Pakistan’s batting stocks are deep enough to survive the onslaught that Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson would unleash back on home soil. “You look at the experience of Azhar Ali, who has done extremely well in a previous tour. Asad Shafiq scored a massive, big hundred here. Then we have Babar Azam, who is growing in confidence and Haris Sohail, too. We have to play accordingly, disciplined and I think we can handle the pressure,” Waqar said.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019