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February 19, 2013
Former Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has expressed his disappointment with the think-tank for the selection of medium-pacers Tanvir Ahmed and Rahat Ali for the tour to South Africa.
"Pakistan is known for its fast-bowling legacy over the last five decades," Waqar told ESPNcricinfo. "We are better than this and have better options than Tanvir. I don't know what the selectors and team management have seen in him. Do they not know we need a bowler who can bowl with sheer pace in South Africa? Where is Aizaz Cheema and Wahab Riaz? Why weren't they picked in the first place?"
Tanvir's previous national call-up was in May 2011, after which he was dropped for his poor performance and fitness. Before he was dropped, he played four Tests and picked up 16 wickets. Shortly after the Pakistan team landed in South Africa, Ali and Tanvir were called in as late reinforcements to bolster a side that already had four quicks.
Tanvir's outing in the second Test was disappointing. He bowled only 10 overs out of 102.1 in the first innings and was given another five overs in the second innings to finish with figures of 10-4-26-0 and 5-0-43-1. He failed to impress with the new ball, bowling at a speed of around 120kph.
One of Pakistan's selectors refused to take the responsibility for Tanvir's selection, saying the team management had demanded reinforcement and it was their decision to play him in the final XI.
The management did not use all the frontline bowlers picked for the series. Mohammad Irfan, who was set to play the first Test, was left out for Ali. Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman was benched for the second Test, while Ehsan Adil, a young fast bowler who was picked after a strong domestic performance, only bowled in the nets.
"The problem isn't Tanvir. It lies with the selectors and the team think-tank who have to decide where they are going," Waqar said. "I am really disappointed with Umar Gul, too. In my time, consistency was the key for every bowler. There was always a plan and a back-up plan every time, with a lot of commitment, but here everything looked uncertain."
In spite of being known for their fast bowlers, Pakistan have relied on spinners over the last three years, following bans on Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. Saeed Ajmal has emerged as a dependable strike bowler for Pakistan on all surfaces. "He [Ajmal] will continue to play his part with success - because he knows his role and his line and length," Waqar said. "We talk about our fragile batting, but it's the fast bowlers who are letting the team down. Gul looked bad with both the new and old ball."
Waqar said Pakistan wasted the new ball in both Tests. "We bowled to their strengths. South Africa simply bowled in the right areas at perfect lengths. Pakistan were in a good position in the second Test, thanks to Ajmal's outstanding bowling. But we lost the opportunity and handed them a win."
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Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth
Plays of the Day from the third ODI between India and West Indies, in Kanpur