Azhar likes his talented pacers but knows they lack experience
KARACHI: After their opening defeat by an innings and five runs at the Gabba Pakistan, Test captain Azhar Ali heaped praise on his team’s young fast bowling attack, and backed them to push the ceiling higher, as they bridge the gap in experience.
Between them, Pakistan’s main trio of fast bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imran Khan and 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah, have a combined experience of 15 Tests. They had their backs to the wall early, with Australia’s opening batsmen David Warner and Joe Burns putting together 222, but bounced back well late in the innings, as Australia lost their last seven wickets for 112 runs.
While Naseem dismissed Warner for 154, Shaheen accounted for Marnus Labuschagne, the top-scorer with 185, and captain Tim Paine. “The young attack has a lot of potential, but you can’t buy experience,” Azhar said. “It’s never easy in a place like Australia. They started off little shaky, but they came back strongly the next day, even though the Australian batsmen were really set. They came back strong and kept bowling in good areas after that. I believe if they manage to do that from the start of the innings, they’ll be a totally different attack after that.”
Reflecting on the Test itself, Azhar rued Pakistan being unable to capitalise on their early advantage. After winning a crucial toss, Pakistan kept Australia’s bowlers at bay in a wicketless first session, before losing four wickets for three runs. From there, they were left to play catch-up all through.
“The way we won the toss and we played in the first session, without losing a wicket. That was an opportunity for us to go in front and take the initiative in the game. That chance we lost in the second session.”