Zimbabwe v Pakistan, only Test, Bulawayo, 4th day September 4, 2011

Waqar praises bowlers for creating pressure


The Pakistan team have made no secret of their desire to visit Victoria Falls during their tour of Zimbabwe. They have also mentioned that they are unsure when they would be able to fit the six-hour road journey from Bulawayo into their tight schedule.

Had they obliterated Zimbabwe's lower order in the same way as they the top and middle orders, and knocked off the small target they would have been set, Pakistan could have used Monday for sightseeing. Instead, they will return to Queens Sports Club facing a deficit of 81 runs and with two Zimbabwe wickets still to dislodge.

"We got a little bit frustrated in the middle session and gave away a few too many runs," Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach said. "But, the game is still very much in our favour at the moment. We have to come back and make sure they don't get too many more and try to get those runs as soon as possible."

Pakistan have not won consecutive Tests since 2005 but look likely to record a second successive win, having beaten the West Indies in their last Test in May. They showed their intent in taking control of the match in the first session, when they scored 103 runs at a slightly higher rate than they had managed throughout the third day. Younis Khan was more purposeful in his strokeplay and Adnan Akmal was enterprising in making 36 off 45 balls. "We knew that if we got a decent lead, we would have a fair chance of getting them out cheaply," Waqar said. Saeed Ajmal contributed 28 but the lower order was skittled quickly after lunch, resulting in a lead of only 54 runs.

However, Pakistan made that slim advantage count and snaffled five second innings wickets before Zimbabwe had wiped out their lead. "I think it was the pressure we put on them," Waqar said. "The bowlers bowled really well and we didn't give them a chance to get settled and so a lot of them played rash shots."

The bulk of that pressure was created by Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, but Waqar added that the role of Akmal, the wicketkeeper, should not be ignored. "In the first innings he wasn't really up to the mark, but in the second innings he knew what he needed to do and he kept really well," Waqar said.

Despite Pakistan's success in the field today, there has been some concern over the course of the match about their inexperienced fast bowlers. "It was difficult to come into the Test match, with only one Test between the three [Aizaz Cheema, Sohail Khan and Junaid Khan] and with none of them having taken a wicket in Tests," Waqar said. "Aizaz Cheema really bowled with some fire and aggression, he was pretty good and you can see that he has some future for Pakistan."

The two Khans, Junaid and Sohail received less praise from the coach, who indicated that they some way to go before they will able to challenge the likes of Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz for regular spots in the team. "Junaid has been part of the team for the last eight months. He also played for Lancashire and he did well there but is on a learning curve. He is good one day bowler but he still a lot to learn when it comes to the longer version. "Sohail Khan has got to work on his fitness."

Despite his criticisms of Sohail and Junaid, Waqar said he had "no regrets" about leaving out Sohail Tanvir, the left-arm fast bowler, saying he thought the three bowlers who played had "done a wonderful job".

However, Waqar will not be around to help with the development of the trio because this is his last series as coach. He announced before the tour of Zimbabwe that he would be stepping down for personal reasons after 18 months as coach and said he was pleased with the way his tenure had panned out. "It has been very satisfying. We've beaten New Zealand in New Zealand, West Indies in West Indies and we drew against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates. We've got a young team, who have played fairly well, so overall I am happy with the progress they have made."

While his future plans are not immediately clear, Waqar hopes to remain in cricket, probably as a commentator.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    Dear All , Age factor is not a issue.. I have seen Aizaz Cheema bowling.. what a pace n bounce.. have seen after waqar n Akarm..And i think he is better than Gul, Wahab, Junaid right now...Aizaz has good Domestic record.. but i can,t understand .. What is the Resion geeting late chance...

  • Jamal on September 5, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Pakistan might have finally hit a road block as far as fast bowlers are concerned. There just doesn't seem to be any test capable wicket taking bowlers anymore. I'm afraid Pakistan is going the way of India as far as lack of fast bowling is concerned.

  • sameer on September 5, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Aizaaz cheema, Good talent but, PCB has been dropping senior players and always saying about young talent and young blood. Aizaz cheema is now 32 years old, and doubtful for the next world cup. so why are they dropping the experience bowlers like umar gul, wahab riaz.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    This is the problem Pakistan cricket has, they realise that there is someone legitimately good when he is in his retiring phase eg, misbah ul haq and aizaz cheema. Now how can cheema have a good future when his only got a couple of years left under his sleeve.

  • Khalid on September 5, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    I think it was a mistake to have dropped Sohail Tanvir as he is the only pacer who has some experienxe at this level plus he has been in good form lately. Sohail khan was a disappointment to say the least. I am astonished how Waqar is praising their performannce.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Brian Lara For the Pakistan batting coach! :)

  • Rayhan on September 5, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Good bowling? Conceding over 400 runs to an under-par, under-prepared side and Waqar says its good bowling? It was a pathetic display of bowling. Saeed Ajmal is not a test bowler, he is way over-rated in test cricket and not half as attacking as Danish Kaneria. These tours are used to develop confidence among the players. Gul and Wahab along with Tanvir would have been served better by playing here rather than the likes of Cheema, whose ball barely reached the batsmen, let alone the keeper. That he got wickets is because Zimbabwe are way below a regular test side. I hope sense prevails and our board acts in a sane manner.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    Wasim Akram is not into coaching otherwise there was nobody better. I'd say make Jack Kallis retire & hire him coach. :)

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    enuff of bowling coaches ... its time to concentrate on batting ... best choice domestically is javed ..... else i would go for michael bevan ( for his character ,as a fighter till the end ) ...which is quite similar to javed's style ... plus bevan can help them to hold catches better than javed :P

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2011, 22:28 GMT


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