Pace attack October 21, 2006

Is it Yasir time?

I think it might be Yasir Arafat's time

As good as Pakistan's win against Sri Lanka was we mustn't delude ourselves that the current bowling attack is one that any country will fear. Indeed, without Shoaib and Asif the pace bowling can be highly competent at best.

What to do? In calling for Yasir Arafat the Pakistan think tank has sent out two clear signals. The first is no suprise and is sent to Mohammad Sami. The message says: "You've blown it mate. You have been too wayward and too expensive in Pakistan colours. Barring a stunning turnaround in domestic cricket your international career is toast. PS We don't care what Imran Khan thinks about you."

The second message is more bothersome. This message says that when it comes to back up in the pace bowling department Pakistan does not possess someone of sufficient quality and speed to replace Shoaib Akhtar.

I find this troubling. Pakistan cricket has made its reputation over the last 25 years or so on the quality of its fast bowlers. When Imran Khan retired, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were world class. When the two Ws waned, the Rawalpinidi Express was hurtling at full speed. You might say that Asif was set to replace Shoaib as the linchpin of the attack but that isn't the lineage I'm talking about. I'm talking about the lineage of pace and pace is something Asif can't boast. We keep hearing of tearaway pacemen on the fringes of selection. To dominate world cricket, pace is an essential requirement. Once again Pakistan have failed to turn potential into results. This is a situation that must be put right quickly.

In the meantime, Yasir Arafat surprised everybody this summer with his form in county cricket. He ran in like Waqar, tried to bowl a similar length, and all he lacked was extra pace. Even so he is regularly in the 85-90mph category. Importantly, he is more than handy with the bat and I think that attribute combined with his ability to keep it full at the death makes him an attractive option. And he could yet get faster.

I think it might be Yasir time. At least let's see his temperament at international level. Pakistan will need a pace bowling hero to win the World Cup. Even if Shoaib and Asif return in the nick of time for the World Cup, Yasir looks to be an allrounder of genuine potential.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on October 24, 2006, 6:09 GMT

    well, sami deserves no more chance in pakistan cricket team. we should introduce new fast bowlers, anwer ali from under 19 pakistan cricket team. that guy has ability to swing the ball. including yasir arafat to the ICC champions trophy is a good descion.

  • testli5504537 on October 24, 2006, 1:06 GMT

    I think we all have forgotten Mohammad Irshad he is in the domestic circuit and very fast. Why do people forget about him.

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 21:15 GMT

    I surely agree with the writer- Sami is a spent force and he can still change, but noy by this world cup. Rana since coming back from hsi injry has been in erratic form and his attitude leaves a lot to desire. Yasir on other hand has been coming fine in county and dometic cricket and i still remmeber him taking 9 wickets in England vs pak A match for practise. What impressed me was most of his victimes were Bowled. Its time we give yasir a chnace so he can get a feel of international cricket and be ready for the WC07

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 18:56 GMT

    well i agree with the posted comments. finally the board is sending right signals to sami. Sami was an excellent bowler---just that he gets smack around a little too often and does not take many wickets!!! regarding the absence of a real speedster-- i believe its genuine. another side effect of too much tape-tennis cricket. being a bowler myself i know the practical difficulty in adjusting between the two modes of game. the lighter tape ball goes pretty quicker without letting ur muscles develop which is required in generating the same pace as in hard ball yasir and co belong to the same category---i dont mean to undermine his utility but lets admit it he is not express!!

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 16:45 GMT

    Firstly,i think Yasir is a great choice as a first change bowler but I have not seen his batting that much to say that he is a dependable batsman .My views on Sami are that he has suffered becoz of Shoaib mainly as he had to cut down on his run up and therefore lost his pace and his rhythmn. This is becoz the team needed to improve their over rate and as a result Sami suffered. Moreover, I think Mohammad Irshad was part of the A team in Abu Dhabi and he barely bowled over 85 mph so i dontknow wht u guyz r talking abt.In addition , i think Rana will get his act together if he gets a chance to bowl at right handers for a sustained period becoz i think he struggles against left handers . Finally , i dont know but i have a gut feeling that shoaib and asif are in a lot of trouble and will be penalised .

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 16:15 GMT

    Well, I agree with Kamran. Sami has been given plenty of chances, infact more than he deserves.In my view PCB selection committee should hav taken this decision in 2004-5. As for as Yasir is concerned, I always appreciate induction of fresh blood. Because it raises the healthy competetion among players and lift the team spirit. In current circumstances he must be given chance in place of Rana Naveed who is totally out of touch. I m sure Yasir ll not let ppl down. Moreover Pakistan has missed a trick. In last season we had quite a few players who were fit enough to be the part of national team. PCB should have made Pakistan A regular team and should have given these young lads plenty of international exposure. This would have been help to prepare back up of senior players in big competetions like ICC champions trophy n World cup. Because u cannt put a youngster suddenly into a big show. It is nothing more than an effort to spoil these youngsters.

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 14:43 GMT

    Yes I do believe as well that this is a time to change. As far as Yasir is concern he is good replacement for RANA but not for Shoib and Asif. I would say we always need back up for guys like shoib and Asif.Teams like Australia always back up players like Johnson and Shaun Tait. Rana's success in One day cricket was due to surprise bouncers or short pitch but now teams has worked on him. He is really very expensive now a days. Sami has a good potential but he is not consistant like Pakistan team. One more thing I am still not satisfied with our openers like Imran, Hafeez & Shoib. Try Imran Nazir one more time he may be mature enough to control his nerves.

    Amir from Toronto

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 13:10 GMT

    In my openion, there are 4 examples(Macgrath,Pollock,Vass and now Asif) which shows that for a successfull one day bowler, only speed is nothing but swing and accuracy. Yasir Arafat does not have speed of Shoaib or brett nor he posses the accuracy of 4 mention above. His plus point is his bating. Im my openion he may be the best replacement for Abdul Razzak but only when he is injured or not playing. If you want to have a geniune fast bowler then you have to choose between Najaf Shah and Mohammad Irshad

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 12:02 GMT

    I think Sami should always be in the ODI squad, as this best performances have come when playing in ODIs. Even for him a spell of 5-6 overs is not too long! Secondly, he's quite agile in the field and can bat. If the ban for doping rises too 1 year, then Sami needs to be in the squad for the WC.

    Trying Yasir is not a bad ploy and actually is required if you look at Rana's performances for the last 12 months. Rao is an unfancied kind of bowler but rarely falls apart like Rana.

    With regards too Imran, the father of Pak cricket if he were in charge maybe Sami could fulfill his potential....

    My team: Hafeez, Farhat, Younis, Yusuf, Shoaib, Kamran, Afridi, Razzaq, Yasir, Rao, Gul.

  • testli5504537 on October 23, 2006, 10:52 GMT

    In fact I am surprised that Yassir did not play against England. I have watched him for Sussex. He comes across as one working hard and improving on regular basis. The present form of Rana Naved is put simply; awful - being hit over the park. Yassif is not only a better bowler but a much better fielder and batsman than Rana Naved. The other player Pakistan should give warning signals to is Shahid Afridi...over the last 6 months, he is thriving only in name and past glories. As for Sami, Pakistan should delete that name from their list. Surely, better commited youths must be there waiting in the wing. Give them a chance and see what stuff they are made of. May be another Akram, Waqar or Asif is waiting to be unearthed.

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