Pakistan’s performance during the UAE tour ‘extremely good’
Pakistan cricket coach Waqar Younis has termed his team’s performance over five Tests as “extremely good” as they beat Australia 2-0 and levelled the series against New Zealand 1-1.
Pakistan went down by an innings and 80 runs in the third and final Test against New Zealand in Sharjah on Sunday, an ending Waqar felt should not be criticised.
“It would have been icing on the cake and a happy ending had we won the last Test and the series against New Zealand but if I analyse the performance in the five Tests I found it extremely good,” Waqar said.
Pakistan’s October series win – also in the United Arab Emirates – was their first against Australia in 20 years.
“I am proud of the boys,” Waqar said. “The entire nation should be proud of them. We had a depleted bowling attack but they delivered in both the series. They couldn’t finish it off but I am still very happy.”
Pakistan were without their ace spinner Saeed Ajmal who is suspended because of an illegal bowling action. But left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and leg-spinner Yasir Shah filled the void by taking 27 wickets apiece in the five Tests.
Waqar said the abandonment of the second day’s play in the third Test against New Zealand because of the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes had not helped.
“It’s not an excuse but the abandonment broke our team’s rhythm,” said Waqar of play being abandoned on Thursday when the news broke that Hughes had died of an injury caused when he was struck by a bouncer in a first-class match in Sydney.
“Our boys lost rhythm and when the Test began after a day’s gap we lost our way,” said Waqar of Pakistan’s first innings, which derailed from the first day’s score of 281 for three to 351 all out on the second morning.
Waqar, though, is optimistic about the team’s future.
“Look, you need discipline in Tests which begins from the hotel room, like how you are resting during the five-day game and then bowling, fielding and batting all need discipline and these boys are capable of keeping that discipline in future,” he said.
Waqar said paceman Rahat Ali, who took 15 wickets, with best figures of four for 22 against New Zealand in the first Test in Abu Dhabi last month, has made great progress. “Rahat had come a long way and when you play five Tests it takes a lot of fitness and resolve and he has shown that in abundance,” said Waqar of the left-arm paceman.
Pakistan and New Zealand play Twenty20s in Dubai on Thursday and Friday followed by five one-day internationals.
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Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM