Pakistan cricket coach Waqar Younis on Monday termed his team’s performance over five Tests as “extremely good” as they beat Australia 2-0 and leveled 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 Younis felt should not be criticized.
“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 analyze the performance in the five Tests I found it extremely good,” Younis said. Pakistan’s October win, also in the United Arab Emirates, was their first against Australia in 20 years.
Younis said he was proud of his team. “I am proud of the boys, the entire nation should be proud of them,” he said. “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 was without their ace spinner Saeed Ajmal who is under suspension over illegal bowling action since September. But left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah took 27 wickets apiece in the five Tests to fill the void well.
Younis said the abandonment of the second day’s play in the third Test against New Zealand because of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’s death had not helped. “It’s not an excuse but the abandonment broke our team’s rhythm,” he said of Thursday’s play abandoned after the news of Hughes death came from Australia.
Hughes died of head injury two days after being hit 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 Younis of Pakistan’s first innings derailed from first day’s score of 281-3 to 351 all out on the second morning. However, he predicted a good future for Pakistan in Test cricket.
“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,” said Younis, who played 87 Tests and 262 one-day internationals for Pakistan as a frontline paceman. He said paceman Rahat Ali has progressed by leaps and bounds.
“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,” he said of the left-arm paceman.
Younis also said Pakistan’s batting led by Younis Khan and skipper Misbah-ul Haq was impressive. “Younis and Misbah were outstanding and the way Misbah led the team was praiseworthy,” he said.
Pakistan and New Zealand now play two Twenty20s in Dubai on Dec. 4 and 5 followed by five one-day internationals.