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Amir and Wahab's absence in the Test side was a massive setback, says Waqar Younis
Pakistan News

Amir and Wahab's absence in the Test side was a massive setback, says Waqar Younis

Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis admitted the premature Test retirements of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz before the Australia tour severely depleted the side's fast bowling resources.

Speaking to reporters in a video conference on Monday, Waqar urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to introduce a policy that prevents players from abruptly quitting the Test format.

Pakistan's inexperienced pace line-up was exposed in a humiliating manner across the two Tests in Australia with the hosts plundering the bowlers for a plethora of runs.

Equipped with three teenagers in the pace department, a partially fit Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan recalled from the abyss, Pakistan's prospects of succeeding against Australia looked bleak from the get-go.

“If a star player suddenly leaves, or drops a format, it’s a massive setback for the team. You’re forced to fast-track rookies, which is a big problem and we faced it in absence of Amir and Wahab," Waqar said.

“I’m not saying we’d have won in Australia with them, but we could have done better, benefiting from their experience.”

The former speedster spoke on the need for maintaining better communication between the players and the management, particularly regarding plans to step away from a certain format.

He felt a specific mechanism could be formulated to ensure the team's think-tank can prepare for times when it faces the exodus of its senior pros.

“Of course you can’t stop anyone or force anyone. But there should be a policy by the board."

While the unprecedented coronavirus crisis has brought cricket to a standstill, Waqar stated the strenuous schedule of modern-day cricket required possessing a larger pool of fast bowlers.

He hoped his bowling coach stint with Pakistan would help create a reservoir of pacers and singled out a few promising players who needed polishing before making an impact on the big stage.

“The way cricket has expanded, having four-five fast bowlers is not enough,” he said.

“You probably need four-five mature bowlers for test cricket. But for the shorter formats, you need a bigger pool of bowlers, who can share the massive workload."

“Naseem Shah, Musa Khan, Haris Rauf, Dilbar Hussain... if we can harness them with Amir, Wahab and Abbas, I think we can have a battery of 8-10 fast bowlers."

Waqar added that this would eliminate the problem of a dearth of experienced bowlers in the national set-up.

“Once we have that, we’d never be affected by anyone quitting abruptly and can rotate them."

“Bench strength is crucial. You need to create a pool, which even those on the bench are match-winners themselves.”