File photo of Waqar Younis© AFP
While Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka in the Asian Cup final, there were quite a few positives for the Babar Azam-led team. Despite the absence of frontline pacer Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan had no problems on the fast bowling front. 19-year-old pace sensation Naseem Shah took on the task in his debut T20 tournament. In his very first T20I, against India, he took the wickets of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. Overall, he took seven wickets in five Asian Cup matches. Shah’s performance has delighted Pakistani tempo legend Waqar Younis. Younis was part of the Pakistan coaching staff when Shah made his testing debut in Australia in 2019.
“Everything about him. If you look at the fast bowling battery in Pakistan, there are very few that really challenge the top seeds. I felt that when I first saw him, Naseem Shah was a finished product. A classic move. His chance came when (Mohammad) Amir and Wahab (Riaz) pulled out just before the tour of Australia I said ‘Take some youngsters and in the next few years they will be mature.’ He has a perfect run-up, comes in very nicely, comes out really nice, hits the deck really well. He has the pace, that’s the most important thing for me. He has Dennis Lillee-like action.” So says Waqar Younis in a video posted by Pakistan Cricket Board.
“What I like about him is his follow through. The way he bends over puts all the pressure on his front leg. He has clean action, forearm is high. His real improvement in this recent Asia Cup is that he now big inswingers are bowling with the new ball. The Dubai pitch helped his bowling and helped him gain confidence as a bowler. He has shown great character under pressure,” added Wasim Akram.
Naseem Shah is also part of Pakistan’s 2022 T20 World Cup squad. Pakistan kicks off their campaign in the big event with a game against India on October 23.
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