Pace great Waqar Younis believes Pakistan’s young and largely untested fast-bowling attack can cause big problems for Australia in their imminent Test series as the team looks to bounce back from a poor Twenty20 campaign.
Following the retirement of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz this year, Pakistan have brought 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 19-year-old pair Musa Khan and Shaheen Afridi to Australia, along with veteran seamer Imran Khan senior.
While Imran destroyed Australia A in Pakistan’s warm-up match in Perth this week with 5/32 in their first innings, Naseem produced eight high-quality overs in the second innings that turned heads on social media.
Younis, Pakistan’s bowling coach, said he saw enough during the match to suggest Naseem and Afridi, in particular, can shine on Australia’s hard, fast pitches.
“They both bowled well and troubled the Aussie batsmen every time they were on,” Younis is quoted as saying by the the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was good to see them taking wickets and making the Aussies think that we’re not just here to play, we’re here to compete.”
The Pakistan legend added that all three teens can bowl north of 145 kph which should hold them in good stead.
“I don’t think it’s a bad place to come on your first tour as a fast bowler. I came on my first tour of Australia back in 1989/90 and I learnt a lot. It gives you all the perspective,” he said.
“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 - they’re teenagers. It’s going to be a great learning curve for them.”
Pakistan dismissed an Australian team featuring Test aspirants Joe Burns, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft for 122 then restricted them to 91 for two in the second innings.
“All those batters have played for Australia or are knocking at the door,” added Younis, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “So getting them out early and bowling out the entire team cheaply will probably give us a very good message, that we are here for the business.We want to win and we want to challenge this Australian side, so there’s definitely confidence.”
The first of two Tests against Australia gets underway in Brisbane next week, with Pakistan looking to improve after losing the Twenty20 series 2-0.
Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed, who are both in the Test squad, were the only Pakistan batsmen to make an impact over the short format.
But Younis believes their batting stocks are deep enough to cope with a Test barrage from Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.
“I don’t think Pakistan is worried about facing them or scared of any of them,” he said.
(With AFP inputs)