Pakistan’s pace attack has plenty of gas left in the tank, according to their bowling coach, Waqar Younis, with the tourists expected to keep changes to a minimum as they seek to level the series with England in Southampton this week.
West Indies arguably suffered from a refusal to rotate their seamers during England’s first series of the summer. But while Fawad Alam, the 34-year-old left-hander, may replace the leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan to bolster the batting, Waqar has no issues asking Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah to go again.
“I don’t think [workloads] are an issue with the team at the moment,” said Waqar, a former Pakistan quick bowler. “Yes it is very hot here right now, but looking at the temperatures it is going to cool down over the next few days. I’m sure these guys are still capable and have plenty of gas left in the tank to tackle this Test match. After that we’ll see how it goes.”
It is a big ask for Naseem – he is still only 17 years old and sent down 29 overs for his two wickets – but Waqar appears keen that the fast bowler broadens his experience, having been deeply impressed by his attitude during the defeat in Manchester.
“I don’t think he really bowled as well as we expected in the previous game,” said Waqar. “Because he is young, he is inexperienced and it gets tough at times. He is one for the future. He is going to get stronger and fitter and will be able to bowl longer spells and will cause trouble to batsmen around the world.
“If you’re a fast bowler you should be able to look in the eyes of the batsmen and run in hard at them and make sure you show your ability, which he does. He is young and is still learning. It is going to take a bit of time as he plays more cricket, but he will mature and then he will be harder to face once he has more experience.”
Pakistan, meanwhile, have ordered Mohammad Hafeez to isolate in his room after the veteran, part of their Twenty20 squad but in Southampton with the wider touring party, tweeted a photo of himself with a member of the public while out playing golf.
The course is part of the Rose Bowl bubble and open to the public, with players in both squads permitted to use it during down-time provided they stick to strict hygiene guidelines and keep a distance from outsiders.
Hafeez tweeted: “Met an inspirational Young lady today morning at Golf course. She is 90+ & & living her life healthy & happily. Good healthy routine”, all while clearly breaching the social-distancing rule.
Hafeez must remain in his room until the result of a Covid-19 test undergone on Wednesday is known, with a statement from Pakistan calling it “an inadvertent mistake, but a good reminder for everyone on the importance of following the biosecure protocols”.
Kent’s Jordan Cox, the 19-year-old batsman who made an unbeaten 238 against Sussex in the Bob Willis Trophy, has been ruled out of their next match after similarly posing for a photograph with supporters on Monday.