From our correspondent
KARACHI: Pakistan fast bowling coach Waqar Younis on Tuesday (today) said that Mohammad Amir’s sudden retirement from Test cricket had hurt him and Misbah and said that no bowler is “indispensable” for the team.
“No one is indispensable. It is wrong that without certain bowlers you cannot make a team. It would be better that the young fast bowlers will be learning from Amir but we will give priority to those bowlers who would be doing well,” Waqar told a virtual news conference when asked about a volleys of questions about calling left-arm pacer Amir for the camp.
However he was quick to add that his joining camp would further intensify the competition among fast bowlers and it would be a plus point. “And it is a plus point that there is competition within the team and it always helps the side and the team blossoms,” Waqar said.
“It is not the case that we have enough fast bowlers and still we have invited Amir. It is because we have enough opportunities and he is an experienced bowler. He is already part of the white ball cricket. If you say that what was the need of so many bowlers then we also did not need ten bowlers we have. But the point is that we have time and by working with so many bowlers it will also help us not only for this series but for the future series that who should be there and which bowler needs fitness and other requirements,” he said.
“We can also invite more players if we feel any such need because in future there is a tour of New Zealand and World Cup is coming and such moves are necessary. I think it’s not a bad move,” Waqar was quick to add.
“At that time when Amir announced retirement from Test cricket we had a series of Australia and we both, me and Misbah, were not happy. But Amir is an experienced bowler and we had an opportunity to analyse him where he stands,” he said.
Waqar is quite happy with the so far progress from Pakistan team ahead of the Test series against England starting from August 5 with the first test in Manchester.
“It’s a camp like situation. We have enough stuff and have got a great opportunity to analyse the boys, work on the fitness and bowling. We have been almost for three weeks here and are working more than hundred percent so that we could be ready before the first Test and to ensure that we don’t lag behind in anything,” Waqar said.
“Personally I am very much happy as we could not have asked for more as a bowling coach. Very close to first test inshaAllah we will be in such a position where we could challenge England,” he said.
Waqar said that it was helpful to come to England much before the Test series.
“I don’t think that there should be an setback. For performing in any series it is important to get used to conditions. It was a good opportunity that we came here much before the series and knew about the conditions, weather and pitches. We also got the opportunity to witness the games of England and West Indies to know how pitches behave. Wickets of Southampton and Manchester are also being analysed. We have more options and more things are covered as we have both spinners and fast bowlers. We will InshaAllah exploit the conditions and the knowledge which are getting through clashes between England and West Indies,” Waqar said.
Waqar is quite optimistic about Pakistan’s chances to pull off good results during the series.
“Pakistan have always performed here and this time too effort would be made not to disappoint the nation and will return after producing good performance,” the former speedster said.
“I have a lot of experience of playing here and will share with the boys the knowledge and will prepare them,” he was quick to add.
He said so far saliva ban has not been a problem for the fast bowlers.
“Yes doubts were there initially as I felt that it would be difficult to bowl effectively without using saliva and issues would emerge if any bowler tried to use it as it is habitual. And slight issue occurred with a bowler. But I think it is working as no fast bowler has complained about that,” Waqar said. “I always say that cricket ball also counts. The Duke ball is harder and if you shine it through sweat still it is working. I hope when the Covid-19 issue will be overcome things will get normal. In two Tests no such issue has come and I think it is workable and it is little bit surprising for me,” he said.
About the bowling combination for the first Test in Manchester Waqar said that it is slightly premature at this stage.
“It will be seen as we have kept all options open. From the two Tests between England and West Indies we have got an idea that the pitches were slow and sluggish and in such cases we can think about playing two spinners. But so far no discussion has been made on this. We have an idea that right from the World Cup until this time the pitches here are not like what happened in the past when there was more bounce and seam. Now tracks are sluggish and slow here. As third Test between England and West Indies is in Manchester so let’s see how the wicket behaves and when we will reach Manchester and after analysing the pitch we will decide who should play,” Waqar said.
Waqar said if Wahab Riaz is ready to deliver he can be an option.
“Misbah had talked to Wahab whether he is ready for the Test match. If we feel that he is ready and can deliver then why not. We have not written-off any body,” Waqar said.
When asked whether the pair of Shaheen and Naseem could be the Waseem-Waqar pair Waqar said it would be premature to tell like this.
“It’s an early picture. Talent-wise no doubt both are really hard working and putting their soul into bowling but it would be too early to make any big comment,” Waqar said. “Hope they both serve Pakistan for long time if they are fit. Over the last six months or an year they both are doing well and learning the art of taking wickets. As far as their comparison with Archer and Wood is concerned I think all four have different things in them with one thing common and that is the pace” Waqar said. “And one thing which gives Pakistan little bit of edge over England is that both are young and energetic and are skilful. But they will need some time to grow further,” he said.
About Virat Kohli Waqar said no doubt he is the fittest athlete of the country.
“But we are are also not lagged behind. Our Babar Azam is much fitter and is delivering, Shaheen Afridi is super-fit and InshaAllah we will not copy anyone and will make our own bar which would suit to Pakistan cricket,” he said.