Absence of fifth bowler hurting Pakistan KARACHI: Victory at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground after 20 years was big for Pakistan. Everything looked perfect as the batsmen scored enough runs and the bowling attack seemed lethal and sharp enough to wipe off England’s 20 wickets.
Misbah’s men came to Old Trafford and the next five days were totally opposite to the delightful Lord’s experience.
Yasir Shah, Pakistan’s most successful bowler in the first Test, ended up as the worst performer from the visitors’ bowling attack as they got thrashed for 700-plus runs over the two England innings.
Were Pakistan relying too much on their four-man bowling attack? Did they need a fifth bowler or particularly an off spinner to save the main bowlers from tiredness?
“Pakistan have definitely felt the absence of an extra bowler who could bowl decently and it has also impacted the performance of other bowlers,” Tauseef Ahmed, observed former Pakistan off spinner and a current national selector.
However, he also noted that the Pakistan bowlers were not up to the mark during the Old Trafford Test.
Tauseef said the conditions in England do not require the bowling attack to have two specialist spin bowlers and that Pakistan relied on a part-timer like Mohammad Hafeez to play a supporting role as a fifth bowler.
“Hafeez has been our fifth bowler for long but problems related to his action have been a disadvantage lately.”
Unfortunately for Pakistan, Hafeez has not been available to bowl since more than a year now due to his bowling action being declared illegal following biomechanics tests. The all-rounder may make a comeback with the ball as he is expected to undergo another bowling test in England soon.
Tauseef believed that Pakistan have not been able to find talents who can replicate or come close to the quality of Saqlain Mushtaq and Saeed Ajmal. However, he said that coaches and selectors are working towards rectifying this issue.
“Saqlain and Saeed were special and they, along with sharp turn, also offered variety with their doosra,” said the 58-year-old. “They came in and caused havoc in the world of cricket with their turn and variety.”
He added that the upcoming talent, in an attempt to be like the two off-spin maestros, have ended up adopting the wrong bowling actions and that is one of the biggest reasons Pakistan are finding it difficult to produce first-team quality off-break bowlers.
“They try to bowl doosra and end up with bowling action problems,” said Tauseef, who boasts 93 Test wickets in 34 outings.
“We, the coaches, are working towards a solution for this at the National Cricket Academy and our priority is to teach them turn the ball with orthodox action. Learning variety like doosra is secondary.”
Tauseef seemed hopeful of a bright future in the off-spin department for Pakistan.
“There are many exciting off-break prospects in the domestic circuit. But preparing them will definitely take time,” he said.