Pakistan’s bowling coach Waqar Younis was unable to pinpoint why his team lost the first Test match against England at Emirates Old Trafford by three wickets. Every indicator prior to day four’s dramatic events pointed to a win for the touring side but still they let the game slip away from their grasp. At 117-5,in their second innings with a target of 277, England seemed doomed, however Joss Buttler and Chris Woakes had other ideas. Their brilliant sixth wicket partnership of 139 swung the result in favour of Joe Root’s side.
Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis backs his young side to bounce back after the dramatic first Test loss to England
On the eve of the second Test at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl, Younis backed his side to bounce back with Pakistan’s young bowlers 17 year old Naseem Shah and 20 year old Shaheen Afridi leading the way.
“I think we are all responsible, batting, bowling, fielding, if you don’t do well. If you analyse the Test match, we were winning over three and a half days. But cricket is a funny game, the other team starts to play aggressively then these things can happen. So I think overall if I analyse the Test match I think we played really good cricket until lunch on the fourth day. The match was in our total control. Even after that, I think we bowled well. You need fate on your side too in cricket, but we lacked something, luck wasn’t with us. The way they [Woakes and Buttler] struck their shots, the catches didn’t come to hand, plus of course, mistakes can be made and matches are lost. Of course the jolt [of the loss] was felt because no one expected it and neither had we that the match would slip from our grasp.
“We’ll have to be patient, Naseem Shah, Shaheen [Afrid] too, they’re all very talented which everyone knows. They were the ones who set us up in the last Test match and if you look at [England’s] first innings, they bowled really well. If you look at the second innings, they bowled well too, but unfortunately we couldn’t give our[coaches’] experience to match their own experience. These are the boys who enabled Pakistan to win the last two Tests [at home] and I have every confidence. This series hasn’t concluded yet, we’ve played one Test match and I’m confident that we’ll bounce back,” said Younis who has taken k 373 wickets in 87 Tests for Pakistan.
17 year old Pakistan pace bowler Naseem Shah is playing Tests in England for the first time
Having endured a torrid time in the middle, Pakistan’s captain Azhar Ali has come under pressure at the lack of his side’s aggression towards Woakes and Buttler, with Younis’s former striker partner Wasim Akram and former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding at a loss as to why Ali didn’t instruct his bowlers to bowl short balls or Yorkers as Pakistan looked to sew up the win. Younis backed his captain to recover from that and a six ball duck in the first innings as well as scoring only 18 in the second.
“Being the captain and having to bat it’s not easy. He’s been the captain for quite a while, if your form is poor and if you’ve played badly, of course it will get highlighted. Your mentality as a captain – I’ve been the captain and I can understand the mental stuff that comes with the role, the responsibilities are greater and you have to handle quite a few more situations and then you’ve got to focus on your batting also.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali endured a disappointing time at the crease with scores of 0 and 18 in the first Test against England
“Had we won the match his performance would not have been highlighted, he would have been encouraged had we won the match. So in that regard, we have felt it (Azhar’s form). But he’s a seasoned player, he’s played almost 80 Tests. He’s had good scores in England, so he knows how to come out of these situations, this is not the first time he’s faced this kind of situation and I’ve got every confidence that in this Test match he will deliver.”
Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of England’s Test series against Pakistan for family reasons
England will be without Ben Stokes who is absent due to family commitments, while Jofra Archer and Jimmy Anderson could be rested, with Sam Curran and Mark Wood their possible replacements. Pakistan could bring in Inam Ul-Haq in place of Abid Ali, while whether they bring in pace bowler Sohail Khan who has taken wickets in England, could prove to be key to their fortunes. Yasir Shah will look to add to his eight wicket haul in the first Test at a venue which favours spin. This match will be Pakistan’s first ever Test at the Ageas Bowl, and they will want to come back stronger after their first Test reverse.