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'It's the same bowling lineup that won us games at home' - Waqar Younis asks for patience
Pakistan News

'It's the same bowling lineup that won us games at home' - Waqar Younis asks for patience

Waqar Younis has acknowledged the huge gulf in experience which exists between the Pakistan bowlers and their England counterparts as he warned against hasty conclusions regarding the tourists.

Pakistan failed to defend the daunting target of 277 against England in the first Test at Old Trafford despite having restricted the hosts to 117-5 at one stage.

Pakistan's severe shortage of experience in the pace attack was exposed during their agonising three-wicket defeat as Yasir Shah often seemed to be fighting a lone battle during the course of the match.

The fact that the cumulative Test appearances of Pakistan's pace trio – Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah – comes out to be three matches less than what Chris Woakes has played, illustrates this point.

Waqar, who serves as Pakistan's bowling coach, requested doubters to give time to the pacers to learn from their mistakes and improve in future encounters.

"They are inexperienced, everyone can see that but we don't have any other choice," Waqar told reporters in Southampton.

"Unless they play more, they can't gain experience. We have to wait and be patient. Both Shaheen and Naseem are very talented, everyone knows that.

"They wonderfully set up the last Test by bowling really well in the first innings. They bowled well in the second innings also but were a little unfortunate."

While the young pacers do not have a lot of matches between them, they were at the top of their game in the home Tests against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Shaheen picked up a five-wicket haul in the decisive Test against Sri Lanka in Karachi whereas Naseem made his way into the record books by snaring a hat-trick against Bangladesh.

Waqar thus called for trusting the current line-up to produce the goods more consistently if given enough opportunities.

"We cannot match our fast bowling experience with England's, there's no doubt about it," he admitted.

"But you have to remember this bowling attack is the same lineup that won us games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at home. The series is not over, I have full faith in their ability to bounce back."

'Naseem needs to get fitter and stronger'

Pakistan's pace trio is considered to be largely balanced with the accuracy of Abbas being complemented well by the towering left-armer Shaheen and the tearaway pace of Naseem.

Most of the time, the spotlight has fallen upon 17-year-old Naseem, who has been racking up menacing speeds at this tender age.

Thrilled about the exciting prospect, Waqar said the teenager could be even more dangerous to face once he gets stronger and fitter.

"Naseem is very, very talented and he is still growing, his bones are growing," he explained.

"What a talent he is. I don't think he really bowled as well as we expected in the previous game, but he can really bowl well and take the opposition on at times. He is young, he is inexperienced and it gets tough at times.

"All he needs to do is probably get stronger and fitter. Pakistan over the years has produced some real quality fast bowlers. In the last two and a half... three decades, I know. If he keeps himself fit and strong and keeps bowling I'm sure he has the potential to become a very good bowler."

The compressed Test schedule has raised concerns over the pacers' workload but Waqar was confident his bowling arsenal was not exhausted at the moment, especially amidst the backdrop of their first international assignment in months.

"I'm sure these guys are still capable and have plenty of gas left in the tank to tackle this Test match and after that, we'll see how it goes," he said.