Pakistan news March 6, 2012

Riaz working on new-ball skills


Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said he needs to work on mastering the ability to bowl with the new ball. He rued being only a fringe player in the England series but said he was working hard win to back his place.

Pakistan rely heavily on spinners in all formats, with only Umar Gul being the established fast bowler. Two young quick bowlers, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Talha, have been troubled by injury while Aizaz Cheema has done well enough to keep his place in the XI over Riaz.

One of Riaz's strengths is his ability to obtain reverse-swing but with the use of new balls from each end in one-dayers, his effectiveness has been reduced. He is currently working with former fast-bowler Sarfraz Nawaz at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. "I am working hard to get more control when bowling with the new ball," Riaz said. "Unfortunately I didn't get enough chances to bowl against England, but I am confident that I will be an improved bowler in the Asia Cup."

Riaz, 26, had a memorable Test debut, taking a five-for against England in August 2010, and made a further impact in limited-overs cricket by collecting his maiden ODI five-for in the World Cup semi-final against India. He was included in the Pakistan squad against England in UAE but played only one ODI in which he was taken for 47 runs in seven wicket-less overs.

He hasn't had too much to smile about since his career-best performance against India in Mohali, but was looking to regain his lost form. "Repeating that India performance is the best way to build my reputation," Riaz said. "It's all about confidence as I hardly got an opportunity to bowl with the new ball."

Pakistan didn't organise a formal training camp before the Asia Cup but called up all their top fast bowlers to train ahead of the four-nation tournament. "He [Sarfraz] is helping me a lot in tackling different situations, mainly [teaching me] how to execute with the new ball," Riaz said. "I am bowling long spells with the new ball and I am sure whenever I have the ball in my hand, I won't disappoint the captain."

Sarfraz, now a NCA fast-bowling consultant who is filling in for outgoing coach Aaqib Javed, was confident that his charges will click in the Asia Cup. "I did enough to tune them, now it's up to them how they perform," Sarfraz said. "Wahab's got heart as a fast bowler but was off rhythm due to a minor technical flaw that we have sorted out now."

Pakistan will play their first match against Bangladesh on Sunday and take on Sri Lanka on March 15, before going head-to-head with arch-rivals India on March 18.

"What a captain always wants is an effective bowling attack, which gets the wickets for the team," Sarfraz said. "Misbah [-ul-Haq] said that the pacers were not utilising the new balls effectively but I have tried my level best to sort that out. What I know is that we have the best bowlers - they may be inconsistent, but are really dangerous in all conditions."

Edited by Siddarth Ravindran

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PakFan1209 on March 9, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    pakistan team should be working on their batting more than their bowling

  • kingishere on March 8, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    Sarfaraz Nawaz is training the bowlers then we are sure they will be ruined. Coz I only know him as someone you can only make silly comments. But I guess you guys dont have a choice, Wasim Akram prefers to earn lot of dollars giving commentary on Indian matches than helping their country to develop young talent. He prefers to give tips to our bowlers like Irfan pathan and never seen even coming close to any of the pakistani bowler. Waqar did not want to get involved in the politics of the team. The legendary Imran Khan is busy with politics. So you had to opt of Sarfaraz is the bishen singh bedi of Pakistan. Pity you guys. Let us know if you need the great Kapil Deve or Srinath is required

  • Sports4Youth on March 8, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Earlier Crooks were not kept out that is why now we are seeing 18 year olds getting caught. Now if you dont keep these crooks out then soon you will see 14 and 15 year olds getting caught in domestic level. All those who are crying for the return of Amir please think, do you want things to get worse. Earlier no one had the guts to deal with the two WW's , and the team kept loosing from winnig conditions. That was allowed by ignoring the important report, that is why you are in this deep sxxx. Do you want Pak cricket to be clean or do you want them to cheat you and play with your sentiments. Today if Pak is in a winning situation, it goes on to win. But if you bring back players like Amri & Kamran then the team will again start loosing from winning positions also. Just think why has the performance of the team improved without them.

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Give me a break. This is the best PCB could find? PCB is just getting lazy and not trying out youngsters who will shape the future of Pakistan bowling. I understand PCB wants to retain some experience in the line up, but instead of continously bringing Wahab Riaz back, try Sadaf Hussain share the new ball with Umar Gul. And try Rahat Ali alongside Sadaf. Umar is already at the wrong side of 20s. Wahab is getting there soon. Junaid, Sadaf and Rahat should become our front line bowlers within the new few years to prepare for 2015 WC. That's my take on this issue.

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    amir will return inshallah

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    wahab riaz are very good bowler and best of luck for asia cup

  • GowharGeelani on March 7, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    As we all know that the world's best feared facing two W's from Pakistan: Wasim and Waqar in all conditions on any surface; but once they left the scene no more W's were coming to the party until Wahab, the third W, arrived. This 26-year-old left-arm fast bowler had a dream start to his test career. He took a five-for against England in 2010. And then, who can forget that fabulous performance against India in the world cup semi-finals; the lad surprised many by collecting his maiden ODI five-for. Now after being coached by Sarfaraz, the fast-bowling consultant at National Cricket Academy has this to say about Wahab: "Wahab's got heart as a fast bowler but was off rhythm due to a minor technical flaw that we have sorted out now.What I appreciate about Wahab is the grit and determination on his face; the intent, positive intent to make things happen rather than waiting for things to happen for him, his ability to bowl 140 plus, the toe-crushing yorkers [ask Yuvi!], skill to bowl reverse

  • AbdulRahmanAhsan on March 7, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    @sports4youth, very nice comparison and still Pakistan selectors are saying they select "THE BEST". I dont know why they are still going with Umer Gul. He is finished and we have to look for new blood as my dear freind mentioned.

  • Classy.Nerd on March 7, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    Wahab Riaz reminds me of Mohammed Sami: Decent pace with NO accuracy, No control over New Ball, Plenty of Wides/No Balls. And if luck favors, a wicket maybe. Its not just the new ball Mr Abdul Wahab Riaz, it's a gameplan for every top order batsman you will bowl to.

  • Sports4Youth on March 7, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    In 27 First Class Matches, RAHAT ALI (Left Arm FastMedium) has taken 107 wickets @ 19.31, econ - 2.9 , S/R - 39.9. . . In 29 First Class Matches, SADAF HUSSAIN (Left Arm FastMedium) has taken 148 wickets @ 18.27, econ - 3.09 , S/R - 35.6. . . Compare these stats with any bowler who is present the pak team. None of the present lot are even close to these guys. Yet these guys are out and bowlers like W.Riaz & U.Gul are enjoying at the highest level inspite of the thrashing that these fellows got at the hands of the english batsmen. Come the South Africa and Australia Series and they will get more thrashing. People like Iqbal Qasim and Sarfraz should take a look at these boys, work on them, They have the potetial of becoming the next Wasim-Waqar Combination.

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