Pakistan’s former fast bowler Waqar Younis has voiced alarm at the dearth of genuine pace in Pakistan’s Test bowling lineup. Following a significant defeat in the first Test against Australia in Perth, Younis expressed his worries about the absence of bowlers consistently reaching high speeds.
During the Perth Test, Pakistan’s pace bowlers, including Shaheen Shah Afridi, Khurram Shahzad, Aamer Jamal, and Faheem Ashraf, struggled to break the 140kph mark. While they provided some uneasy moments for the Australian batters in the second innings, Younis remains concerned about the overall lack of genuine pace in the current lineup.
Injury Woes and Forced Changes
Compounding Pakistan’s challenges, Khurram Shahzad, who impressed on his debut, suffered a series-ending rib injury. This injury will necessitate a change in the lineup for the upcoming Test at the MCG, with Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, or Mir Hamza being potential replacements.
Younis reminisced about the historical strength of Pakistan’s pace attack, especially when touring Australia. He expressed disappointment in the current lineup, stating, “People used to come and watch Pakistan pace bowlers really running in hard and bowling 150 clicks [kph], and that’s what I’m not seeing there.”
Concerns About Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Pace
Waqar Younis specifically addressed concerns about Shaheen Shah Afridi’s loss of pace. Afridi, who bowled at a reduced speed in Perth, previously delivered at 145-150kph and swung the ball effectively. Younis urged Afridi to address any fitness issues and regain his previous pace to remain a potent force in the bowling attack.
“I’m not really sure what’s wrong with him,” he said. “If he’s not fit, if he’s 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’m 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.
Fielding and Missed Opportunities
Reflecting on the first Test, Younis emphasized the importance of flawless fielding, especially when facing Australia. He noted missed opportunities that could have shifted the momentum during the game and highlighted the need for impeccable fielding to counter the strong Australian batting lineup.
Younis expressed his discomfort watching the first Test, stating, “Watching the first Test match was painful.” He stressed the significance of seizing opportunities and maintaining high standards, particularly in the field, when competing against a formidable team like Australia.