Akhtar questions Pakistan's bowling credentials

The legendary former pacer questioned the decision to leave out young fast-bowler Mohammad Hasnain

Akhtar questions Pakistan's bowling credentials PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s former pacer Shoaib Akhtar, in a Youtube video, questioned the bowling credentials of the Men in Green after their mediocre bowling display in the third One-day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium in Karachi on Wednesday.

Akhtar believed that Pakistan’s fast-bowling resources proved insignificant against a second string Sri Lanka side, which will be a major challenge leading up to their scheduled series in Australia later this year.

“Pakistan’s fast-bowling is a major worrying point. The bowling gave away almost 300 runs. Wahab Riaz alone conceded 80 runs. Amir, Wahab and Hasan Ali are three bowlers who will not feature in Test matches. Who will bowl with the new ball in Australia? Pakistan conceded a lot of runs against a weak side like Sri Lanka which is a major worrying point,” Akhtar said.

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The former right-arm pacer also questioned the decision to leave out young fast-bowler Mohammad Hasnain, who could play a major role in the upcoming series down under.

“You have a bowler like Hasnain who should have been given a chance. How will you manage the Australian tour? Which bowlers will bowl with the red ball? Hasnain performed well in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) but we need bowlers for the longer format,” he said. “If you now take Hasnain to Australia without testing him at home, will he be able to prove his worth?”

The 44-year-old stated that the lack of quality spinners in the Pakistan team was also a major concern for the Men in Green.

“You don’t have any spinners in the side as well. Imad Wasim cannot make do with flippers alone. Until you have an exceptional spinner Pakistan will struggle. At no stage did Pakistan stop the flow of runs,” he said.

Akhtar praised the performance of opener Abid Ali and questioned why solid players like him did not get frequent opportunities.

“A solid opener like Abid gets selected only after Imamul Haq got unfit and a place was left vacant. Abid has always scored runs whenever given the opportunity so why doesn’t Pakistan play with such solid players?” he said.

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He also signalled out batsman Azhar Ali and Abid as the batsman who could perform well in Australia.

“Ali alongside Azhar Ali would be the only batsmen for Pakistan capable of taking down Australia. Both of them play quite well, Azhar is pretty determined player, whereas, Abid is a good back foot player but it will be a test for him,” he said.

Akhtar stated that the leadership role of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed would become very doubtful if the wicketkeeper-batsman failed to consistently perform with the bat.

“The biggest debate is at number five. If Sarfaraz can’t perform at that position then his captaincy becomes very doubtful. If he can’t perform as a batsman, can Sarfaraz retain a place in the side as a captain? That is a very big question,” he concluded.