Waqar Younis raises concern over Pakistan’s lack of pace in Test bowling attack

Former Pakistan cricketer Waqar Younis has expressed deep concern about Pakistan’s Test bowling attack, particularly the lack of pace, as they try to recover in their series against Australia. 

In the first Test, despite some discomfort to the Australian batters in the second innings, Pakistan’s fast bowlers – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Khurram Shahzad, Aamer Jamal, and Faheem Ashraf – struggled to reach high speeds, rarely crossing the 140kph mark.

Pakistan’s substantial 360-run defeat, coupled with Shahzad’s injury, has added to their challenges.

While talking to ESPN, Waqar highlighted the absence of genuine pace in the bowling attack, a stark contrast to Pakistan’s historic reputation for formidable fast bowlers.He also expressed worry over the current medium-pacers and the lack of genuine speed, which was also absent in the domestic cricket scene. Waqar emphasized that in previous tours, Pakistan always boasted a group of rapid bowlers, a strength that seems lacking now, causing him significant concern.

“Another thing that I’m worried about is that always when we come to Australia, one thing that excites is the fast bowling and this time around I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing medium-pacers or slow-medium-pacers, allrounders, there’s no real pace. People used to come and watch Pakistan pace bowlers really running in hard and bowling 150 clicks [kph], and that’s what I’m not seeing there,” Waqar said.

“That’s my worry and issue because I have not seen it at the domestic level also. There are a few injured, I can understand, but in the past you would always see a battery of fast bowlers that they could always bring on, but unfortunately that is not there and I’m really worried about that,” he added.

Waqar lamented the absence of Naseem Shah due to injury and Haris Rauf’s decision to prioritize the BBL over the Test series. He stressed the importance of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s performance, who, despite taking two wickets in Perth, was notably slower, prompting concerns about his reduced pace.

“I’m not really sure what’s wrong with him. If he’s not fit, if he’s got some issues, he needs to go away from the game and fix that because if you are going to carry on like that you are going to become a medium-pacer. He used to bowl 145-150kph and used to swing that ball. What I’m seeing now, yes there’s a little bit of swing but his pace is way down… and that is not going to get him wickets,” he added.

Waqar also emphasized the missed opportunities in the first Test and the critical importance of flawless fielding when facing Australia, as giving their batters chances could prove costly, as witnessed in Perth.

“Watching the first Test match was painful. We had moments, we had opportunities where we could have pulled the game back a bit but we didn’t take the opportunities. When Pakistan come to Australia they have to make sure their fielding is spotless… because Australia batsmen, if you give them opportunities, they’ll take it with both hands and make it big and that’s what we saw in Perth,” he concluded.