ISLAMABAD: Since Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail have left the scene, Pakistan openers have failed to put up solid starts on seam conducive wickets.
Pakistan’s two tour games last week against English county sides Somerset and Sussex were no different as openers struggled against the seaming deliveries.
The hapless batting situation at the top of the order has made Former Pakistan Head Coach Waqar Younis worry for Pakistan’s batting line-up once the Test series against England kicks off from Thursday at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground.
One of the most experienced batters in the side, Mohammad Hafeez, accumulated just 70 runs in four innings at a paltry average of 17.5.
Hafeez’s back to back failures made Waqar term the forthcoming series against England and Australia ‘very important for Hafeez’s career’.
“Both series are very important for Hafeez’s career… he should know that he is not a youngster anymore and if he doesn’t perform then he won’t get many chances,” said the former fast-bowler while talking to a private TV channel.
“Although Mohammad Hafeez is looking lost in English conditions, we should still open with him,” he added.
Waqar believed the right-handed batsman has struggled outside Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Urging the team management to look into the failure of the openers, Waqar suggested to try rookie left-hander Sami Aslam if Hafeez continued to fail.
‘Fingers will be raised’
Pakistan’s former head coach expressed his concern that Pakistan will be facing many challenges in this series in the form of British media, the pitches and the local conditions.
Mohammad Amir, who made his international comeback in January this year, will be under observation come Thursday.
Talking about the reintegration of Amir into the international cricket, Waqar said: “Fingers will be raised on Mohammad Amir but our focus should be on winning the series.”
The 44-year-old, however, said that the left-arm quick is a very good bowler and can do well on any pitch.
Talking about Pakistan’s pace attack at large, Waqar said: “Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali are good bowlers and can do well in the series depending on the conditions of pitches.”
‘Players cannot complain if they fail’
Having won the last away Test series against England back in 1996, the national side arrived at the same venue last month to acclimatise to the conditions.
The former Pakistan captain said that the national side has gotten plenty of time to practice ahead of the series.
“Now if they (players) fail they cannot complain that they did not get enough time to prepare themselves for the series,” he said.
However, Waqar remained hopeful about national side’s prospects in the upcoming series, terming the tour to be of utmost importance for Pakistan.
“Pakistan posses the ability to beat England,” said Waqar.
Speaking about England’s leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson, who has been ruled out of the first Test due to a shoulder injury, he said it did not matter who played from the English side.
“The only thing which matters in this series is that we have to be at our best,” he said.
“The English team is very good at the moment as they have thumped Sri Lanka.”
Waqar faced great criticism due to Pakistan’s premature exit from the ICC World T20 in India earlier this year under his tutelage.
After kicking off the campaign with a comprehensive victory against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, the team lost against New Zealand, India and Australia which eventually led to their ouster.
On April 4, Waqar resigned as the Pakistan head coach, followed by the resignation of star all-rounder Shahid Afridi as the national side’s T20 captain.