< >
CricketWorld.com, Latest Cricket News & Results

Wahab, Amir ditched us just before the Australia series: Waqar Younis


The inexperienced Imran Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi and Muhammad Musa comprised the Pakistan pace battery for the Australia tour along with the off-colour Mohammad Abbas as they lost both Tests by an innings.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan head coach and chief selector, had acknowledged while announcing the squad for the tour Down Under that though he was expecting good results and the new lot of bowlers had the required talent, discipline would be key.

The bottomline after the Test series clearly told that the experiment of throwing the young guns in the deep end had not quite worked. While Pakistan lost the first Test at The Gabba in Brisbane by an innings and 5 runs, the second Test at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide yielded a defeat by an innings and 48 runs.

In the absence of experienced bowlers, The Men in Green had gone in with Imran, Naseem Shah and Shaheen in the first Test in Brisbane, while Mohammad Abbas and Muhammad Musa replaced Khan and Shah in the second Test. But, the results remained same.

Amir had bid goodbye to Test cricket in July, last year, at just 27, in a bid to protect his weak knees. Wahab Riaz, at 34, followed suit in September, as he took an  "indefinite break" from red-ball cricket to extend his white-ball career.

Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has now caused a stir by saying that Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir 'ditched' them by opting out of red-ball cricket before the tour. However, he hopes that the duo continue to contribute in limited-overs cricket.

"Just before the Australia series, they ditched us and we had the only choice to pick youngsters. It's not like we have lost a lot, but yes they left us at the wrong time. But anyway, we don't have any grudge against them. I still feel they have a lot to contribute in white-ball cricket and they should carry on playing for Pakistan.

"But we have got a lot of fast bowlers now. From PSL, we have seen so much potential. There is big talent out there and each one is skilful and they all have a role going forward somewhere in the near future. It's not like they will start doing wonders at once. These young boys need to be blended with the experienced guys. You cannot buy experience overnight - it comes with age - and I am sure these young boys have the knack and each one has the aptitude to serve Pakistan for at least eight to ten years."

Shaheen Afridi was clearly Pakistan's best bowler on the tour and came of age as he bowled a total of 64 overs and picked up 5 wickets, while also offering much-required control to the newly-appointed skipper Azhar Ali.

Naseem Shah, who bowled well without luck in the first Test and gave 68 runs from his 20 overs, was controversially dropped for the second Test, citing workload management. Leg spinner Yashir Shah, who contributed with the bat, was a real let down. He bowled a total of 484 deliveries and picked up 4 wickets at a disappointing average of over 100 and gave away as many as 402 runs off just two innings.

"I am not trying to take away any credit from India, they played well and they are a very good side," Waqar noted. "But yes at same time when they won in Australia, there is no doubt that Australian cricket was going through a turmoil and there were problems in their dressing room. And they were without Steve Smith and David Warner.

"I really don't know why we have not won Tests their all these years. At times, we went there with top bowling attacks yet lost. To me it was a case of when the bowling worked the batting didn't put up enough runs or when the batters put up enough runs the bowlers didn't come through."

The Pakistan bowling coaching signed off not on an optimistic but realistic note, saying that he didn't see cricket returning before five or six months.

© Cricket World 2020