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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 hereFeeds: Kamran Abbasi
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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi