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Ponting criticises ‘unacceptable’ Naseem move

Former Australia cricketer could not comprehend Pakistan’s tactics regarding rookie pacer

PHOTO: AFP

Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting has lashed out at Pakistan’s tactics regarding utilisation of 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah, on the third day of the first Test against the home side at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The rookie pacer just bowled four overs on Saturday — bearing in mind that he sent down 16 on Friday — but still managed to get the prized scalp of first innings centurion David Warner as his maiden Test wicket.

Speaking before beginning of Sunday’s opening session, Ponting said the decision not to give Shah more overs, as Australia compiled a formidable total, was “unacceptable”.

“This was completely unacceptable for mine, I really don’t understand the tactics of Pakistan yesterday,” Ponting told Channel 7. “We saw young Naseem early in the session really unsettle David Warner, he made it hard for him to score and eventually in that first four-over spell knocked David Warner over.”

“And then when Pakistan needed to keep taking wickets right through the course of the game we didn’t see the young man. “I don’t know if there’s something wrong with him, I don’t think he could be injured because he spent the whole day on the field. They had to keep taking wickets through the course of the game yesterday… now the game’s well and truly out of their reach,” he added.

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It must be noted that after the close of play on Saturday, Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis had brushed aside the notion that Naseem was injured and that he bowled few overs because of workload management.

"We have to be very careful with Naseem Shah," said Waqar."He's very, very young and we have to manage him well because he bowls very quick. You don't want to put too much load on him, be careful with him.”

"He is the future for Pakistan. We have to use him sensibly and I thought that's what the captain did,” he added. "He's a wicket-taker. It was just his first Test match."

Australia went one up in their two-Test series against Pakistan when they won the first Test by an innings and five runs.

After beginning their second innings 340 runs behind Australia and then losing three cheap wickets in the afternoon session on Saturday, the Pakistanis put up stern resistance Sunday before finally succumbing late in the final session.

Babar Azam scored a magnificent century and Mohammad Rizwan fell five runs short of his first as Pakistan were dismissed for 335 late on the fourth day. Meanwhile Josh Hazlewood took 4-63 to be the pick of the Australian bowlers.

The second Test begins in Adelaide on November 29.