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Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram: Pakistan lacked flair in the 4th innings of first Test

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Former legendary Pakistan speedster Wasim Akram was critical of Azhar Ali’s captaincy, stating that he missed a trick after his side failed to defend a 4th innings target of 277 against England, largely thanks to a 139 run 6th wicket partnership between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler.

Disappointed with the team’s performance, Akram said, “It will hurt. It will hurt the Pakistan team and the cricket lovers in Pakistan. Winning and losing is part of cricket, but I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned.”

Wasim then criticised the approach from the Pakistan quicks after Chris Woakes, who had an average of 5.22 with the bat in the previous six Test matches, walked out to bat. He said, “When Woakes came in, there were no bouncers, no short deliveries, they let him settle down and runs were coming easy. Once the partnership got going, nothing happened, the turn didn’t happen, swing didn’t happen – and Buttler and Woakes just took the game away.”

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Fellow Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain also questioned the tactics adopted by Pakistan against Woakes.

“They must have video footage of Woakes,” Hussain said. “Woakes got hit on the head (in the first innings) and has been a bit wafty with the short ball and they didn’t go at him at all. Naseem bowled only 13 overs and, if you’re going to save him, save him for some chin music.”

“When we played against Pakistan, albeit greats like Wasim and Waqar, on a pitch like that, they would take it out of the equation if it went flat. Then, when you were fending it off, it would be at your toes, at the base of the stumps.

“Maybe the coach is trying to get this discipline into the bowlers, dry up the runs, but there has to be a period with Pakistan cricket where they go, ‘you know what we’re good at, we’re good at going at you’.”

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Wasim was then asked about whether Pakistan’s pursuit of discipline from their pace attack was a reasonable excuse, to which he did not agree.

He answered, “Pakistan cricket is all about flair, unpredictability and attacking cricket. We’re not county bowlers who are just going to come and bowl line and length all day long. We’ve got a 17-year-old [Naseem], who bowls 90mph, a 20-year-old [Shaheen Afridi], who is around 88mph, and they should be bowling a lot more overs – 18-20 overs each innings, no matter the situation.”