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Sohail Khan should replace Naseem Shah in second England Test: Aaqib Javed

Former cricketer believes veteran pacer is the best exponent of reverse swing in Pakistan

PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Former cricketer Aaqib Javed believes veteran pacer Sohail Khan should replace rookie fast-bowler Naseem Shah in Pakistan’s playing XI for second Test against England, starting from August 13 at The Ageas bowl, Southampton.

While speaking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, the former cricketer said that Sohail will be a better exponent of reverse swing, which can play a vital role in the match.

“Pakistan will need Sohail Khan in Southampton. He can replace Naseem Shah in the side. Sohail will have the responsibility to look after the ball for reverse swing like James Anderson does for England. Pakistan lost the Old Trafford Test because they couldn’t look after the ball. When nothing works for you, then only reverse swing does,” said Javed.

“Sohail should have played at the Old Trafford pitch. Shaheen Afridi is not that mature to know how to look after the ball and how to reverse it. There needs to be someone who knows how to prepare the ball to extract reverse swing. Naseem is very young and has no idea how to prepare it either. On the other hand, Abbas doesn’t depend on reverse swing at all. So team management made a big mistake by not playing Sohail Khan, because he is the best exponent of reverse swing in Pakistan,” he added.

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Javed is not convinced about the batting ability of Pakistan first-choice wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.

“Rizwan is a good keeper but I am not satisfied with his batting. Talent doesn’t take more than two years to shine.  Show me one player who got better after seven or eight years. If there is talent in someone, then it can be seen in two years. So Pakistan needs to focus their attention on other wicketkeepers and look for more options,” he said.

The 48-year-old also feels that England bowlers have worked out Azhar Ali’s batting and the Pakistan Test captain will have to take some quick corrective action, inorder to be back among the runs.

“England bowlers, Pakistan coaching staff and Azhar himself knows his weakness. England bowlers are trying to bowl full into the wicket to Azhar, inorder to trap him leg before wicket. Pakistan coaching staff should have worked with Azhar on this aspect in the training camp before the Test series. Azhar can also bring some changes into his game. He can stand outside the crease or have a more open stance,” he said.

Former pacer advised the Pakistan team management to persist with all-rounder Shadab Khan and give him confidence.

“Shadab didn’t bowl a lot with the red ball last season. He is himself not focused towards the longer format. However, now since Pakistan have played him, he needs to be given confidence as they don’t have any other option. I don’t consider Faheem Ashraf ready for Test cricket, as he doesn’t have the ability to be in your top seven batsmen or top four bowlers,” he concluded.