Pace attack November 15, 2006

Shahid the Unsung swings it for Pakistan

A big question mark hung over Pakistan's bowling attack after the Champions Trophy and Umar Gul and Shahid Nazir answered it as emphatically as possible
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Pakistan bounced back from a calamitous Champions Trophy with a victory that blossomed with optimism if not complete command. Mohammad Yousuf continued his exquisite run in Test cricket and, flat track or no, he outperformed all the other batsmen in this match including one BC Lara. There is a sense of serenity about Yousuf's batting that inspires confidence and echoes a bygone era. One half of Pakistan's opening batting partnership continued to raise more questions than answers (more on that next time). And Inzamam returned with a duck and a quiet, if occasionally somnolent, authority to help Pakistan regain their footing in international cricket.

But the big question mark hung over Pakistan's bowling attack and Umar Gul and Shahid Nazir answered it as emphatically as possible. Although Gul had the better figures, for my money, it was Shahid the Unsung who swung it for Pakistan.

After a break from Test cricket that must have felt like an eternity, Shahid returned to the Test team at Headingley this year and made an immediate impact. Admittedly his pace is friendly but Shahid more than makes up for that with accuracy and consistency, attributes that have been lacking in Pakistan's support pace bowlers for many years. Far better to follow the bluster and the venom of opening bowlers of the calibre of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif with somebody reliable who can control an innings and pick up wickets in the process, rather than ease the pressure with a wayward spell from, say, Abdul Razzaq. What Shahid has done since Headingley, in a style not dissimilar to Aaqib Javed if not as speedy, is to replicate this remarkable control and consistency at every opportunity.

In many ways Shahid is an ideal third or fourth seamer in Test cricket but he also carries the reputation of possibly being Pakistan's best new-ball bowler. That's a big accolade to try and live up to but on the first morning of this Test Shahid showed exactly why people do talk of him in this manner. While Gul was wayward--although he too returned later to rise to the occasion and confirm his progress as Pakistan's most improved bowler of this year--it was Shahid who made Lara pay for batting first on a treacherous morning. It was that spell that put Pakistan in a dominant position. I'm no lover of medium pace but hats off to Shahid Nazir for his patience and now his determination to prove to Pakistan's selectors that they ignored a real gem for too long.

Pakistan's new opening bowlers can't really make up for the two that have been lost but their form is a ray of sunshine--and a cause for optimism--at a time when Pakistan cricket needs to leave behind the darkness of recent weeks.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hessy on January 27, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    AFAIC that's the best asnewr so far!

  • Farrukh Nadeem on November 30, 2006, 7:26 GMT

    I agree that Shahid Nazir is an unsung hero. He is unfortunately seems going on Aaquib Javed's line, in the sense, he doesn't go after wickets rather he tries to concentrate on line and length. I still remember his contribution to Pakistan cricket when he bowled a good spell to remove Brian Lara in the finals of Carlton & United Series final in Australia. He should be a regular bowler in Pakistan cricket team. However, he has a major threat in Mohammed Asif as he is wicket taking as well as very economical bowler. Lets see whether Pakistan will ever see bowling trio like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Aqib Javed.

  • ali on November 26, 2006, 10:13 GMT

    since asif and akhtar left i stoped watching cricket

  • asam on November 18, 2006, 23:03 GMT

    omer admani u must be joking if u think pakistan should let sami go he is a great bowler but all he needs to do is get his confidence and consistency back because don't forget when he gets that back he will be our best bowler without akhtar and asif by a mile

  • Emad Alamgir on November 18, 2006, 16:10 GMT

    I dont understand why the selectors always go for the express sort of bowlers rather than the disciplined line and lenght bowlers. I think shahid Nazir has an immaculate line and lenght and aided by his ability to swing he is a very important prospect in Pakistans world cup campaign. He has loads of experience behind him and i am sure he would be extremely useful for the team. Another thing i have noted is his outstanding ability to get Lara in a spot of bother .I remember him dismissing Lara in series held in Australia and this time around as well he has bowled exceptionaly well to him . A bowler with an abilty to disturb the worlds best batsmen is surely on my list of Pakistans world cup pace attack Cheers

  • omer Admani on November 18, 2006, 3:59 GMT

    Can't we just let Sami go? He is a liability, because he releases the pressure that is applied from the other end. Nazir was impressive, while Gul keeps on getting better. Shoaib Malik's bowling is no better than Razzaq's, so one has to be sacrificed for another bowler (hopefully not Sami, maybe Niazi). I would rather Razzaq remains in the team, because though Malik might be more consistent, Razzaq is more of a pressure player. We would ideally require a batsman to play in that position in a pressure situation, because when the top order fires, then the 30-40 odd lower down the order might be useless.

  • Imran Quraishi on November 17, 2006, 20:56 GMT

    I had only seen a picture of Shahid Nazeer on Cric info web site prior to watching him live in the recently concluded test match against West Indies and to be honest with you I was not just disappointed by that picture but I was disgusted as to how on earth an old man who looks like he is over the hill is gonna represent Pakistan on an International level.

    That picture is still on my mind but it did not did justice with this young lad. After seeing him live I am not only impressed by his looks but I am the biggest fan of his that one can find in New Jersey. I think his looks are not as deceiving as his bowling is. Congratulations to the people of Pakistan to find this rare gem out of no where as all of a sudden we seem to be very much in contention for the world cup and with Umer,Shabbir and Sami as the other main bowlers we can beat any time in this world "Inshallah".

    Unfortunately thanks to the stupid decision taken by Mr(Inti)Alam & the other two musketeers the innocent and cricket crazy people of Pakistan were deprieved of their two main attack bowlers. I think Inti and his gang should be put on a trial for doing something this stupid and to say that they are creating an example for future generations. By bad mouthing about poor Shoaib that he is sexually active and is a drinker what example are you setting for future generation Mr Inti cuz how dare can you malign someone's reputation like that. That is none of you God damn business. I am surprised and shocked about the silence of our President Musharraf who could have called Inti and the other two culprits a day before the hearing and told them not to make any stupid decisions like this cuz this can really affect our chances for the world cup. Shame of Inti and company a million times.

  • rauf on November 17, 2006, 16:28 GMT

    I dont care what is said about our new bowlers without one of the two banned bowlers we are not going to win the world cup. That should be our primary concern.

  • Qasim on November 17, 2006, 16:23 GMT

    He may have bowled that delivery but has he gotten any worthy wickets with it? I don't think so, Sami is the most over hyped player in Pakistani cricket, just because he has the support of Imran Khan.

    Sami as a bowler is so bad that i think if Malik or Hafess had as many chances as Sami to bowl fast, they would have better figures then him...

    Sami has played 28 tests with an average of 48 and a strike rate of 81.... thats very very poor for a fast fowler let alone a Pakistani pace man.

    Forget about Sami!!!!!! Look for other Pacemen in Pakistan, there is allot of talend who havn't yet had a chance.

    And stop under estimating Umar Gul, he is a very decent bowler and his figures show that.....

    Without Shoaib Akhtar, i agree.. we do need pace but not just pace, we need pace which takes wickets.... Sami clearly hasn't!!!! NOT IN TEST MATCHES ATLEAST.

  • Mustafa Moiz on November 17, 2006, 12:21 GMT

    Qasim, the delvery you described Gul bowling to Lara has been done by Sami to lefties. And he has reverse swing which you didn't see Shahid Nazir bowling. He is almost 29 and has only played 11 Tests. Razzaq is a bowler who comtrols runs and takes 1-3 wickets every match and more on a good day. Nazir is quite lucky. But, presuming Shoaib Khtar and Asif cannot return, Pakistan's bowling should consist of Mohammad Sami, Abdul Razzaq, Samiullah(or some other leftie), Shoaib Malik, Afridi and Hafeez.

  • Hessy on January 27, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    AFAIC that's the best asnewr so far!

  • Farrukh Nadeem on November 30, 2006, 7:26 GMT

    I agree that Shahid Nazir is an unsung hero. He is unfortunately seems going on Aaquib Javed's line, in the sense, he doesn't go after wickets rather he tries to concentrate on line and length. I still remember his contribution to Pakistan cricket when he bowled a good spell to remove Brian Lara in the finals of Carlton & United Series final in Australia. He should be a regular bowler in Pakistan cricket team. However, he has a major threat in Mohammed Asif as he is wicket taking as well as very economical bowler. Lets see whether Pakistan will ever see bowling trio like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Aqib Javed.

  • ali on November 26, 2006, 10:13 GMT

    since asif and akhtar left i stoped watching cricket

  • asam on November 18, 2006, 23:03 GMT

    omer admani u must be joking if u think pakistan should let sami go he is a great bowler but all he needs to do is get his confidence and consistency back because don't forget when he gets that back he will be our best bowler without akhtar and asif by a mile

  • Emad Alamgir on November 18, 2006, 16:10 GMT

    I dont understand why the selectors always go for the express sort of bowlers rather than the disciplined line and lenght bowlers. I think shahid Nazir has an immaculate line and lenght and aided by his ability to swing he is a very important prospect in Pakistans world cup campaign. He has loads of experience behind him and i am sure he would be extremely useful for the team. Another thing i have noted is his outstanding ability to get Lara in a spot of bother .I remember him dismissing Lara in series held in Australia and this time around as well he has bowled exceptionaly well to him . A bowler with an abilty to disturb the worlds best batsmen is surely on my list of Pakistans world cup pace attack Cheers

  • omer Admani on November 18, 2006, 3:59 GMT

    Can't we just let Sami go? He is a liability, because he releases the pressure that is applied from the other end. Nazir was impressive, while Gul keeps on getting better. Shoaib Malik's bowling is no better than Razzaq's, so one has to be sacrificed for another bowler (hopefully not Sami, maybe Niazi). I would rather Razzaq remains in the team, because though Malik might be more consistent, Razzaq is more of a pressure player. We would ideally require a batsman to play in that position in a pressure situation, because when the top order fires, then the 30-40 odd lower down the order might be useless.

  • Imran Quraishi on November 17, 2006, 20:56 GMT

    I had only seen a picture of Shahid Nazeer on Cric info web site prior to watching him live in the recently concluded test match against West Indies and to be honest with you I was not just disappointed by that picture but I was disgusted as to how on earth an old man who looks like he is over the hill is gonna represent Pakistan on an International level.

    That picture is still on my mind but it did not did justice with this young lad. After seeing him live I am not only impressed by his looks but I am the biggest fan of his that one can find in New Jersey. I think his looks are not as deceiving as his bowling is. Congratulations to the people of Pakistan to find this rare gem out of no where as all of a sudden we seem to be very much in contention for the world cup and with Umer,Shabbir and Sami as the other main bowlers we can beat any time in this world "Inshallah".

    Unfortunately thanks to the stupid decision taken by Mr(Inti)Alam & the other two musketeers the innocent and cricket crazy people of Pakistan were deprieved of their two main attack bowlers. I think Inti and his gang should be put on a trial for doing something this stupid and to say that they are creating an example for future generations. By bad mouthing about poor Shoaib that he is sexually active and is a drinker what example are you setting for future generation Mr Inti cuz how dare can you malign someone's reputation like that. That is none of you God damn business. I am surprised and shocked about the silence of our President Musharraf who could have called Inti and the other two culprits a day before the hearing and told them not to make any stupid decisions like this cuz this can really affect our chances for the world cup. Shame of Inti and company a million times.

  • rauf on November 17, 2006, 16:28 GMT

    I dont care what is said about our new bowlers without one of the two banned bowlers we are not going to win the world cup. That should be our primary concern.

  • Qasim on November 17, 2006, 16:23 GMT

    He may have bowled that delivery but has he gotten any worthy wickets with it? I don't think so, Sami is the most over hyped player in Pakistani cricket, just because he has the support of Imran Khan.

    Sami as a bowler is so bad that i think if Malik or Hafess had as many chances as Sami to bowl fast, they would have better figures then him...

    Sami has played 28 tests with an average of 48 and a strike rate of 81.... thats very very poor for a fast fowler let alone a Pakistani pace man.

    Forget about Sami!!!!!! Look for other Pacemen in Pakistan, there is allot of talend who havn't yet had a chance.

    And stop under estimating Umar Gul, he is a very decent bowler and his figures show that.....

    Without Shoaib Akhtar, i agree.. we do need pace but not just pace, we need pace which takes wickets.... Sami clearly hasn't!!!! NOT IN TEST MATCHES ATLEAST.

  • Mustafa Moiz on November 17, 2006, 12:21 GMT

    Qasim, the delvery you described Gul bowling to Lara has been done by Sami to lefties. And he has reverse swing which you didn't see Shahid Nazir bowling. He is almost 29 and has only played 11 Tests. Razzaq is a bowler who comtrols runs and takes 1-3 wickets every match and more on a good day. Nazir is quite lucky. But, presuming Shoaib Khtar and Asif cannot return, Pakistan's bowling should consist of Mohammad Sami, Abdul Razzaq, Samiullah(or some other leftie), Shoaib Malik, Afridi and Hafeez.

  • fakhar on November 17, 2006, 11:16 GMT

    ok accepted that shahid nazir played well, but don t you think we need more agressive players like a combination of 2 agressive bowlers and 1 line and legth bowler. if shabbir gets cleared and aktar & asif return, it will be even difficult for umar gul to save a place in the team. what about rana naveed, just because he had one bad series, no one remembers his great bowling. i think, if akhtar and asif don t return, there shud be the bowling line up like umar gul, rana naveed and mohammed sami or shahid nazir. hey why don t we use hafeez a bit more in bowling, i mean looking ahead of world cup, he should get a bit training also in test with his bowling(he has done a good job until now)

  • haseeb on November 17, 2006, 8:09 GMT

    I remember when woolmer was a few months old as coach, i sent a message to him at his then website, www.bobwoolmer.com and forwarded him shahid`s figures and asked him about him. His reply was " I have seen him, not everyone from first class can become a international bowler. His pace might be too friendly. He is very much in our mind." It is glad to see the guy in the team, doing well in matches saved in history. Thanks Woolmer for continue to keep him in mind.

  • Rehan on November 17, 2006, 3:02 GMT

    Your comments on Shahid Nazir are a little generous considering the fact that he relies solely on the condition of the pitch. But don't get me wrong tho, i still think hes an excellent operator of swing but i feel on subcontinental pitches he tends to struggle as seen in the tour to india. Nazir along with Rana and Abdul Razzaq give one dimentional look to the pakistani attack. I feel we need variety in our attack kinda like how the aussies tinker around with their bowling line up, they have Glesspie, Kasperowich but they opt out for a (little) less quality pacers with the like of Mitchell Johnson, Clark etc to add variety to their attack. I sometimes feel that the opposition gets used to our attack with the exclusion of Akhtar and Asif. If we get those 2 back.......and with the inclusion of one of Gul/Nazir...... Watch out Australia!

  • NJ on November 17, 2006, 1:20 GMT

    Both Umar and Shahid are good for Playing in Pakistan, they are infact not as penetrative Overseas.

    Not too long ago Pakistan in England w/o Shoiab or Asif were mediocre at best in Test Cricket Bowling.

    Make no mistakes, two prime pace bowlers for Pakistan are Asif and Shoaib. They make a great 1 2 punch either in Pakistan or playing outside.

    This West Indies team is not the geratest Batting team either.

  • Qasim on November 16, 2006, 17:25 GMT

    Don't make me laugh > Ahsan Khan..... You can not even compare Umar Gul to M. Sami, Sami may have speed but he can only throw the ball straight. Umar Gul is a genuine swing and seam bowler and when he came, his and length was perfect. Give him some time, he will improve his line and leangth and because he can bowl inswing and outsing... he is a threat to any batsmen.. the delivery that got Brian Lara, it pitched in the middle and swung away (inswing to a left hander) not many bowlers at current can produce such a delivery... Sami cudn't even do it in his dream.........

    Umar Gul can swing the bowl better then any Pakistani bowler at the moment. M. Asif doesn't swing, he seams the bowl and gets allot of bounce because of his height....

    I think Umar Gul and M. Asif are two great bowlers for Pakistan who have the ability to become two of the best bowlers in world cricket in the future .........

  • AHSAN KHAN on November 16, 2006, 16:44 GMT

    i agree with you kamran .our bowlers did what was required of them but stiull i think it was the pitch that played its part in the first innings and pressure was the main factor in westindies collapse second time round ....pakistan needs to bring back pace in the form of Mohammad Sami .Shahid nazir has cemented his place in the side but i feel that umer gul needs to improve his line and length ,because i think he was really lucky in this test ..BEST OF LUCK TO TEAM PAKISTAN.

  • Asim Khan on November 16, 2006, 16:03 GMT

    I think Shahid is definitely the unsung hero, he is more than a bit part player. Having watched him in England he offers so much more to the Pakistan attack than just a third seamer, he is a master of his art and offers control and sunstance with a canny knack of taking big wickets.

  • Osman Ali Khairi on November 16, 2006, 15:45 GMT

    I agree. Shahid Nazir's bowling definitely was the icing on the cake on a pretty decent performance by Pakistan in the recently concluded test match. I remember Shahid Nazir dismissing Lara in the World Series Cup final in Australia (way back in 1999). I thought he had talent then! And as a corollary always wondered where he had disappeared after that. Like Kamran, I am not too fond of the medium pacers but Shahid Nazir has something special about him. He certainly, deserves an extended run in international cricket! I also wonder where the likes of Mohammad Akram went? It's a pity we wasted and floundered some exceptional talent. I also acquiesce with Imran Khan in his unflinching support for Sami. Considering out meager bowling resources, in the absence of both Shoaib and Asif, Sami needs to be drafted into the team as soon as possible. He may be wayward. He may be undisciplined. But he sure does have what Gul and company DON'T. Pace. He needs to be drafted into the team and given some much needed confidence! He 'COULD' be our knight in shining armor in the soon to be held World Cup.

  • Qasim on November 16, 2006, 15:39 GMT

    Its funny how you all make a mockery of PCB for wasting talent and talk about droping Malik from the test team and forgeting a fact that he has been one of Pakistan's leading run scorers, is one of the best fielders can bowl and has saved many matches for the last two years.

    Without him, Pakistani team would be UNCOMPLETE!!

  • Ghulam Fazal CHangriwalla on November 16, 2006, 13:49 GMT

    Sami is a complete waste of time. Bowling at 90+ miles is not subsitute for bowling wicket taking deliveries. McGrath only bowls a paltry 80 mph but he is one of the deadlist bowlers of modern era. Sami has had his fair of chances. Its times for Sami, Razaq & Co. to disappear in the waste bins of history.

  • asam on November 16, 2006, 13:37 GMT

    i think you r right nazir is a good bowler but we need sami as he is only bowler left who bowls 90-95mph and when he is in form he is deadly so we need to recall him asap

  • Tariq on November 16, 2006, 12:37 GMT

    I agree that Shahid has done well and he will do well for us in the future too. I am sure because he is a line and length bolwer he will always b consitant even when the conditions are not with him. I agree we should have 4 out right bowlers but the alrounder to drop will be Razzaq as looking at recent form Malik has been doing alot better as a batsman. neither of them have been getting many wickets. Aktar I think is finished, the line up for me will be: Asif Gul Shihid Shabir

  • Imran on November 16, 2006, 12:20 GMT

    Shahid has definitely impressed in this Test match. But i still think that the team needs a genuine quick bowler to add another dimension to the bolwing battery. Pakistan team of the late 80's and 90's have had a quick bowler to unruffle the feathers of the opposing team and off course extra pace always causes a bit more problems. Other than that it looks an attack potent enought to trouble most batsmen in the world.

  • Ghalib Taimur on November 16, 2006, 11:03 GMT

    Yes..Shahid has surprised most of us by this bowling display.However his toughest test will be on a more flat surface like the one in Multan.If he can bowl with consistency there thers no doubt he will have to spearhead Pakistans attack at the World Cup.

    To add to that Pakistan does not have many major wicket taking bowlers any more so i feel in test cricket it is imperative that Pakistan plays four specialist bowlers.Razzaq or Malik have to be scrapped.I would prefer scrapping Malik as Razzaq can bat well under pressure and is a more experienced player than Malik.

  • Zain Kazmi on November 16, 2006, 8:03 GMT

    iam a big fan of kamran's columns. his recent column is about pakistans new pace battery including shahid nazir.everybody is praising the efforts of nazir in lahore test but nobody is realizing the strength of opponent. windies is not a potential TEST side these days, however they are good in odi's. when our bowlers plays against good sides like australia, india, england somethinh always happens to them( iam talking about the new bowlers but not young..) their line or lenght goes to skies and they loses thier color. in my point of view thats the real test for any kind of bowler to bowl against good side and perform well. iam not against our bowlers but iam just saying that don't let them flies in ths sky after this performance we should make them realize the fact that its just a beginning a long way to go before becoming a relyable bowler dont give them the title of Mcgrath, and Pollock early on. worldcup will be played in the carribean pitches which are almost same to ours (dead for the pacers) their we all will see who is the best and who's the worst.

  • Zuhair on November 16, 2006, 6:42 GMT

    Yes indeed. i personally feel he is one bowler i can recall who has been underplayed by pakistan. In the last 8 y-10 years, we have played test matches with bowlers like Sami, Azhar,Rana. Even some club quality bowlers like Yasir Ali and Junaid zia played amatch or two. During all that period shahid nazir was kept out the scene for some reasons better known to the selectors only. i still feel he is a better bowler than umar gul, umar is a luckier bowler that he gets one wicket too many than he deserves , while nazir's case is just opposite. I still remember when he got lara out in 196 couaght behind the stumps in the Carlton united series 1996, and lara after the match said this lad is the toughest after waasim akram i have ever faced. i am not sure if lara today remembers his dismisal or not! to make an ideal case, if everything goes well, pakistan test bowling attack shoulds comprise of Shoaib,Asif,Shabbir n Nazir!! We must now show enough confidence in our middle ordr batsmen so that we do not need an abdul razza in the team. better batting by kamran akmal can help the cause. and can give pakistan 54 potential wicket taking fast/medium bowlers playing in a test match!! and assuming that shoaib n asif wont b cleared this year, we hope that shabbir gets cleared. he alongwith nazir n gul would not be a bad trio!! We have never been a bad bowling side and i hope this time nazir playes for pakistan longer than he did before. i am very excited about him playing in south africa. for my money, he potentially looks the better bowler in our side in southh african conditions!! may he do well

  • Ali on November 15, 2006, 23:32 GMT

    The selectors have always been worthless but what of the management?

    Imagine what Inzamam and Woolmer were thinking when they backed Khalil and Razzaq ahead of Nazir on the tour of India '05 (Shoaib/Gul/Shabbir were out already).

    That was when Nazir had just completed a most successful season and there was much pressure in favor of his selection given his form, experience and skill. Then we were treated with Riaz Afridi and Rao If and of course Razzaq as third seamer in test cricket.

    One of the many goof-ups by the present management.

    There will hopefully be a time when they realize that Nazir is as skillful as they come even if he is slower than he once was. Asif is the one to open the bowling. Gul is skillful and will continue his improvement with both the new and old ball (he is perhaps one of the best old ball bowlers in the world already - in terms of skill). He is very lucky he didn't miss out thanks to the injuries in England. Najaf Shah is easily the best left-armer (another one often undermined just like Nazir). And of course Shabbir is the one for control and bounce if legal.

    Sami is just a dream. While Samiullah, Razzaq, Rao, Riaz were never meant to play test cricket.

  • JAVED A. KHAN on November 15, 2006, 22:57 GMT

    I concur with the views of Babar Zia. Not only us, if you look at the Indians they also do this a lot, worshipping the Rising Sun.

    They did a lot to Suresh Raina and something went in his head and he is not performing. He had no past, no track record, just one innings against Pakistan and he was declared as the next Tendulkar.

    Similarly our selectors do the same the moment one player does not perform in two or three games he is history. The examples are of Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir. People like Imran Farhat or Taufiq Umar have been tried again and again and they kept failing. Imran Nazir may not have a track record but Salman Butt and Shahid Afridi both have.

    Shahid Nazeer is lucky to get a chance because Shoaib and Asif are out due to the dope scandal. Shabbir is banned for his action. Rana and Sami both have displayed pathetic form, so Nazir is in. Arshad Mehmood was called several times and made to sit on the sidelines. I still consider Sami as a better bowler than Rana.

    However, I am not saying Shahid Nazir is not good, he is a good bowler and he got wickets in this match. But in the CT, Rao Iftakhar bowled his heart out and bowled so well against SA BUT the question remains whether he will get a place in the playing eleven or NOT?

  • Omar Ansari on November 15, 2006, 22:48 GMT

    I won't say Shahid Nazir's talent has been wasted, he was just unlucky to enter international cricket when the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis had already made their mark.

    He is a disciplined bowler and can solidify his place in the team as the fourth seamer even if Shoaib Akhtar and Asif make their come back.

    Unless Rana or Sami pull off a miraculous return to cricket, I think its safe to say Shahid Nazir has solidified his position in the team as a seamer for the World Cup.

    Shabbir Ahmed in my opinion won't put Nazir's place in the team in danger, he probably will be better known around the world as the bowler who got banned for his illegal action rather than the bowler who made a remarkable comeback even after a years worth of ban.

  • Adeel sohail on November 15, 2006, 22:37 GMT

    I Agree With you to some extent i think umar gul iz a better bowler but in this match shahid nazir looked better than forget the figures . and i think these to need another fast bowler like mohd sami with then and not abdul razzaq ,razzaq is a star in onedays but he iz below avg in tests .

  • Babar ZIa on November 15, 2006, 21:32 GMT

    Lets not be the ignorant worshippers of the rising sun, and forget the blood shed by rusty warriors in glorious victories.......sounds too romantic ? maybe.....but how can pakistani supporters forget the seemingly futile, and eventually glorious last guard vigil bu abdul razzaq (along with kamran akmal) in their last trip to india, which not only saved a test match, and the series but set the tone for the fighting spirit in the Pakistani camp for the next two years........and yes all kudos to shahid nazir he bowled a gem, but dont trash Abdul Razzaq in anointing Shahid Nazir as the elixir for the fast bowling woes of Pakistani Cricket

  • tamaaz on November 15, 2006, 21:24 GMT

    I don't think shahid or shabbirs talets have been wasted. I think they've been refined, look at australia stuart clark, michell johnson, macgill are starting to play now. AFTER learning the skills and gaining experience at the domestic level.

  • usman on November 15, 2006, 21:21 GMT

    It was a good performance over by shahid nazir in the last few months, but how many times have we seen a pakistani cricketer enter the scene do really good and then BooM snap back to reality ..there goes all the hype..we need to give this dude a year or so of cricket and see how he performs..Umar Gul i do not about that dude he is only ne good in the sub-continent we need to bring up more youngins like Asif who can run thru teams in a heartbeat..shoaib akthar thank god he is gone he was only a spoiled over hyped brat...pakistan bowling line should consist of the following samiullah niazi umar gul shahid nazir danish kaneria

  • Kamran Saeed on November 15, 2006, 20:46 GMT

    Dont get very excited on this first test victory.Firstly i dont think west indies is a good test team and secondly they might take some time to adjust to conditions here.Sooner or later this low quality bowling attack where no bowler has a decent air speed apart from GUL will come for a lot of pounding.i still think Pakistan should play one bowler with good air speed in place of Razzaq....that can be Sami or Irshad

  • Taha on November 15, 2006, 19:48 GMT

    What happend to all the fast bowlers we used to produce? Even though Shahid and Gul performed well we still need genuine fast bowlers. I think we need to get Sami back; last time I checked we had a bowling coach who supposed to be helping fast bowlers. As for Razzaq, why is he still in the test team? He doesn't bat well and he is not a threat as a bowler.

  • Zapata on November 15, 2006, 19:34 GMT

    I watched Shahid Nazir bowl in the 1997 Sahara Series in Toronto and he looked like an accomplished swing and seam bowler. Even then, he was in the team because the two W's were out due to injury. Once they were back, Nazir was discarded. I have always wondered how the Pakistani selectors have continued to ignore this talented bowler. He has proven his worth when given a chance after so many years. Even now, some people(including Mr Abbasi himself in one of his previous columns) have questioned his worth in the team citing his age. Nazir still has it in him to deliver for another 2-3 years atleast. What's the harm in keeping a steady performer in the team if he continues to serve the team well?

  • Arslan Shaukat on November 15, 2006, 19:30 GMT

    on the first morning against West Indies at Lahore, he bowled an excellent spell up front on a pitch which had first day moisture beneath its surface and he was further helped by the murky weather and thick cloud cover. However on a flat, fourth day track devoid of any moisture, he did not trouble any West Indian top order batsman. Chanderpaul's scalp was a lucky one. Umer Gul, in comparison, looked like getting batsmen out even on the forth day and was far more penetrative and threatening because of his natural ability to extract bounce and get seam movement (even on flattest of the pitches).

    To cut short, Shahid Nazir can never be a front line bowler as he is dependent on right conditions to be effective. Having said that, Shahid Nazir could do a good job playing as a third seamer in conditions which are conducive to swing bowling.

  • Syed Waqqas Iftikhar on November 15, 2006, 18:09 GMT

    Shahid Nazir has performed well but that does not alleviate the need for an out-and-out tearaway. Qaddafi Stadium had helpful conditions and West Indies are not the most reliable batting line-up around. On flatter wickets or against better batting line-ups bowlers like Shahid Nazir, who are good but lack the ability to make things happen, will struggle and that is when we will miss the likes of Shoaib Akhtar (who I hope pulls through this difficult time). Still, a very good performance from Shahid Nazir and good luck to him for the future. The other good thing is that Umar Gul is coming to the fore in a big way and his pace is up a notch, which, along with his movement and swing bodes quite well for Pakistan's future. I would still like to see Sami back in the side on the basis of his Headingley performance.

  • Qasim on November 15, 2006, 17:47 GMT

    Great performance by M. Yousaf, i always believed he could be Pakistan's Best Batsman and i think he will be the leading Pakistani run scorer once he's done with his career.

    Nobody in the Pakistani team has the ability to make big hundreds like M. Yousaf, Inzi can make fifties very often but he often wastes them, maybe its because of concentration, being to casual once settled or maybe its his fitness and tries to score boundries and not build an innings like M. Yousaf does. It was sad to see Yousaf not being named the test player of the year, hopefully next year he will get the award.

    Great performance by both Gul and Shahid..... i hope they can leep it up and also a very well performance by Hafees and Malik.... Pakistan aren't as weak as they were thought to be.... good to see that.

  • Sunny on November 15, 2006, 17:47 GMT

    though Pak have won the test match ... but this was just the bettle ... the war will began at South Africa. I personally feel Pakistan will miss pace of Akhter there ... Umer n Shahid did bowled well, but how consistent they will be, only time will tell.

  • saleem on November 15, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Its really sad about pakistan cricket that we only select charismatic sort of cricketers and in the process we have waisted so much talent. shahid nazir is a prime example of that. Look how many chances we have given to sami because we think he is young, has pace and support of some oldies(this is what we define as charismatic in pakistan) but when it comes to players like shahid, asim kamal, misbah, etc because they r not any ones favourite we just ignore them and give them only a few chances+ we always say we r not investing in future. this is absolutly crazy, some one who can serve the country well even for 1-2 years is better than some one who will take 5 years to perform. I think shahid has proved that his domestic average does not lie and he should have been given more chances. we r also waisting mushtaq ahmed who is winning maches for counties and his domestic teams and we r focussing on the crap bowling of danish because he is young and can serve the country longer. only if we had used mushtaq for 2 years it would have been great.As danish was a complete failure in england and to be honest in most of the series he has been a dissapointment.

  • Sohail Ahmed on November 15, 2006, 17:34 GMT

    Pakistan went in this match with only three specialist bowlers, and won it convincingly. But the important question is can this strategy be followed on a long term basis? Although Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Razzaq can do well as back up bowlers, I think Pakistan must have four specialist bowlers. That means one of the batsmen or the allrounders - most likely it will be Razzaq or Malik - will have to be sacrifised.

  • Chadhury Malik Faisal Burewalla on November 15, 2006, 17:32 GMT

    Shahid Nazir and Omar Gul have done a tremendous job for Pakistan in the 1st test. Full marks to both of them.

    I agree with you entirely @ Shahbaz Faheem, Abdul Razaq is NOT a test cricketer. He is a good one day player. He should only represent Pakistan in pyjamas! There is no place for Razaq in the test team as the opposition batsmen get plenty of throw downs in the nets!

    At least the selectors have seen sense and scrapped another waster that is Sami. He is more of a bowling machine than a bowler with a brain. I'm sure Sami and Razaq have plenty of support in the high rankers of PCB.

    Lets not get carried away. The West Indies team is a very poor test team. We should wait till we get the results of the last two tests and judge this revitalised Pakistani team then.

    Can't you not trust the Pakistan openers to knock off 10 runs?

  • tipu on November 15, 2006, 17:02 GMT

    Nazir has been impressive and pakistan needed a bowler like him. whenever a decent partnership develops he can bowl longer spells with much accuracy. Though after returning of shabbir and asif, his place would be in doubt alongwith the recent development of umar gul as Asif is economical bowler as well. But with doubts over shabbirs action and Asifs case nothings sure.

    But surely Nazir shud be the third seaming option If Asif, shabbir and Gul trio isnt available. I doubt that Akhtar wud be back in pakistan colors.

    Pakistan should only play one allrounder whehter razzaq, shoaib malik or afridi atleast in a test side.

    If five batsmen plus two allrounders including keeper cant score runs, then i doubt another allrounder wud make any difference, especially in test cricket.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 15, 2006, 16:59 GMT

    For once I'd tend to agree with you Kamran. I've said it before and I'll say it now that Shoaib Akhtar's absence will prove to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. He was certainly spoiling the broth. We need more clinical players like Shahid Nazir, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf, etc. who are high on performance and intelligence and low on flamboyance and hubris. The whole team needs to be glorified instead of individual stars who put their self-interest ahead of everything else. Only then this team will achieve greatness.

  • Fatima on November 15, 2006, 16:51 GMT

    I agree Kamran… Shahid Nazir performed especially well. He did more than what everyone expected of him. Too much emphasis was being put on Danish Kaneria on being our main wicket taker whereas Nazir did better than him by getting 3 wickets in each innings. He got key wickets in the first innings, and a breakthrough for Pakistan on the fourth day. If Shoaib and Asif’s have no way of coming back anytime soon then we have to start preparing bowlers like Nazir now for the World Cup.

  • Shahbaz Faheem on November 15, 2006, 16:06 GMT

    Shahid has performed well whenever got a chance but still I dont know why he is ignored for so long. I think we should continue with Shahid Nazir even Asif comes back. The trio of Asif-Gul-Nazir will be a powerful one. Get rid of Abdul Razzak, he is a weaklink in the team he cannot bat and his bowling is pedestarian, even anil kumble bowls faster than him.

    Pakistan should play with 6 specialist batsmen 4 specialist bowlers one wicket keeper in test matches. Too many allrounders will not serve any purpose.

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  • Shahbaz Faheem on November 15, 2006, 16:06 GMT

    Shahid has performed well whenever got a chance but still I dont know why he is ignored for so long. I think we should continue with Shahid Nazir even Asif comes back. The trio of Asif-Gul-Nazir will be a powerful one. Get rid of Abdul Razzak, he is a weaklink in the team he cannot bat and his bowling is pedestarian, even anil kumble bowls faster than him.

    Pakistan should play with 6 specialist batsmen 4 specialist bowlers one wicket keeper in test matches. Too many allrounders will not serve any purpose.

  • Fatima on November 15, 2006, 16:51 GMT

    I agree Kamran… Shahid Nazir performed especially well. He did more than what everyone expected of him. Too much emphasis was being put on Danish Kaneria on being our main wicket taker whereas Nazir did better than him by getting 3 wickets in each innings. He got key wickets in the first innings, and a breakthrough for Pakistan on the fourth day. If Shoaib and Asif’s have no way of coming back anytime soon then we have to start preparing bowlers like Nazir now for the World Cup.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 15, 2006, 16:59 GMT

    For once I'd tend to agree with you Kamran. I've said it before and I'll say it now that Shoaib Akhtar's absence will prove to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. He was certainly spoiling the broth. We need more clinical players like Shahid Nazir, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf, etc. who are high on performance and intelligence and low on flamboyance and hubris. The whole team needs to be glorified instead of individual stars who put their self-interest ahead of everything else. Only then this team will achieve greatness.

  • tipu on November 15, 2006, 17:02 GMT

    Nazir has been impressive and pakistan needed a bowler like him. whenever a decent partnership develops he can bowl longer spells with much accuracy. Though after returning of shabbir and asif, his place would be in doubt alongwith the recent development of umar gul as Asif is economical bowler as well. But with doubts over shabbirs action and Asifs case nothings sure.

    But surely Nazir shud be the third seaming option If Asif, shabbir and Gul trio isnt available. I doubt that Akhtar wud be back in pakistan colors.

    Pakistan should only play one allrounder whehter razzaq, shoaib malik or afridi atleast in a test side.

    If five batsmen plus two allrounders including keeper cant score runs, then i doubt another allrounder wud make any difference, especially in test cricket.

  • Chadhury Malik Faisal Burewalla on November 15, 2006, 17:32 GMT

    Shahid Nazir and Omar Gul have done a tremendous job for Pakistan in the 1st test. Full marks to both of them.

    I agree with you entirely @ Shahbaz Faheem, Abdul Razaq is NOT a test cricketer. He is a good one day player. He should only represent Pakistan in pyjamas! There is no place for Razaq in the test team as the opposition batsmen get plenty of throw downs in the nets!

    At least the selectors have seen sense and scrapped another waster that is Sami. He is more of a bowling machine than a bowler with a brain. I'm sure Sami and Razaq have plenty of support in the high rankers of PCB.

    Lets not get carried away. The West Indies team is a very poor test team. We should wait till we get the results of the last two tests and judge this revitalised Pakistani team then.

    Can't you not trust the Pakistan openers to knock off 10 runs?

  • Sohail Ahmed on November 15, 2006, 17:34 GMT

    Pakistan went in this match with only three specialist bowlers, and won it convincingly. But the important question is can this strategy be followed on a long term basis? Although Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Razzaq can do well as back up bowlers, I think Pakistan must have four specialist bowlers. That means one of the batsmen or the allrounders - most likely it will be Razzaq or Malik - will have to be sacrifised.

  • saleem on November 15, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Its really sad about pakistan cricket that we only select charismatic sort of cricketers and in the process we have waisted so much talent. shahid nazir is a prime example of that. Look how many chances we have given to sami because we think he is young, has pace and support of some oldies(this is what we define as charismatic in pakistan) but when it comes to players like shahid, asim kamal, misbah, etc because they r not any ones favourite we just ignore them and give them only a few chances+ we always say we r not investing in future. this is absolutly crazy, some one who can serve the country well even for 1-2 years is better than some one who will take 5 years to perform. I think shahid has proved that his domestic average does not lie and he should have been given more chances. we r also waisting mushtaq ahmed who is winning maches for counties and his domestic teams and we r focussing on the crap bowling of danish because he is young and can serve the country longer. only if we had used mushtaq for 2 years it would have been great.As danish was a complete failure in england and to be honest in most of the series he has been a dissapointment.

  • Sunny on November 15, 2006, 17:47 GMT

    though Pak have won the test match ... but this was just the bettle ... the war will began at South Africa. I personally feel Pakistan will miss pace of Akhter there ... Umer n Shahid did bowled well, but how consistent they will be, only time will tell.

  • Qasim on November 15, 2006, 17:47 GMT

    Great performance by M. Yousaf, i always believed he could be Pakistan's Best Batsman and i think he will be the leading Pakistani run scorer once he's done with his career.

    Nobody in the Pakistani team has the ability to make big hundreds like M. Yousaf, Inzi can make fifties very often but he often wastes them, maybe its because of concentration, being to casual once settled or maybe its his fitness and tries to score boundries and not build an innings like M. Yousaf does. It was sad to see Yousaf not being named the test player of the year, hopefully next year he will get the award.

    Great performance by both Gul and Shahid..... i hope they can leep it up and also a very well performance by Hafees and Malik.... Pakistan aren't as weak as they were thought to be.... good to see that.

  • Syed Waqqas Iftikhar on November 15, 2006, 18:09 GMT

    Shahid Nazir has performed well but that does not alleviate the need for an out-and-out tearaway. Qaddafi Stadium had helpful conditions and West Indies are not the most reliable batting line-up around. On flatter wickets or against better batting line-ups bowlers like Shahid Nazir, who are good but lack the ability to make things happen, will struggle and that is when we will miss the likes of Shoaib Akhtar (who I hope pulls through this difficult time). Still, a very good performance from Shahid Nazir and good luck to him for the future. The other good thing is that Umar Gul is coming to the fore in a big way and his pace is up a notch, which, along with his movement and swing bodes quite well for Pakistan's future. I would still like to see Sami back in the side on the basis of his Headingley performance.