Pakistan Cricket Academy v Kenya 2008-09 September 29, 2008

Aaqib Javed backs academy bowlers for Tests

Cricinfo staff


Anwar Ali could be a solution for Pakistan's pace woes © Getty Images
 

Aaqib Javed, the Pakistan Cricket Academy coach, believes some of the academy's top performers merit selection to the Test side. Aaqib oversaw his team's successful tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya this month where it won all its matches.

"We have a few exceptional fast bowlers in the Pakistan Academy side and at least one of them - Anwar Ali - is now ready to play Test cricket," Aaqib told Pakistan's News. Ali, a right-arm medium-fast bowler, who took ten wickets in a closely fought four-day game against Kenya, had earlier played a pivotal role in Pakistan's victory against India in the Under-19 World Cup final in 2006, taking 5 for 35 in a low-scoring game.

According to Aaqib, Ali was ready to take the new ball against India in the Test series starting in Pakistan in early January. "I'm really impressed with Anwar," Aaqib said. "He is getting faster and can swing the ball both ways effortlessly. He is Test material, definitely."

Ali took 11 wickets at 17.09 each in three matches on the academy's tour of Zimbabwe in August-September after which he picked up 18 in four games against Kenya.

In Mohammad Talha, Ali's new-ball partner for the academy, Aaqib felt Pakistan had discovered a bowler with a natural yorker. "He can beat the best of the batsmen with his yorker," Aaqib said. "He is also ready for Pakistan duty." Talha took 15 wickets at 17.66 in four matches during the tour of Zimbabwe and 11 against Kenya.

The absence of Umar Gul due to injury, and Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif for reasons of indiscipline, has left a void in Pakistan's pace attack that Ali and Talha could potentially fill.

Among the batsmen, allrounder Fawad Alam, whose performances against Kenya included a triple-century, received his team manager Haroon Rashid's approval for a place in Test team. "Fawad is exceptionally talented and has matured immensely. He can play Test cricket anytime now," Rashid said. Alam has already featured in ten ODIs for Pakistan. Rashid was also impressed with Pakistan Cricket Academy's captain Khurram Manzoor, who aggregated 365 runs on the tour.