Pakistan cricket team bowling coach Waqar Younis believes that there couldn’t have been a better advertisement for Test cricket, referring to the first Test in Jamaica which West Indies won by a solitary wicket chasing a target of 168. While praising the efforts of the pacers who kept Pakistan in the game despite defending a low score, Waqar was critical of Pakistan’s catching towards the end of the match, which proved a major factor in West Indies going 1-0 up in the two match series.
West Indies were 114/7 at one stage, losing Jermaine Blackwood (55) and Jason Holder (16) in quick succession. Kemar Roach and Joshua Da Silva joined forces for a crucial partnership but at 142/8 and 151/9, Pakistan still held the upper hand. But Roach, who had a couple of reprieves, remained calm under pressure to take his side over the line.
“It was a very good Test match, couldn’t have had a better advertisement for Test cricket. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of the result, but that’s the way cricket goes. Of course, mistakes happened, which is why we came second. We were poor with the catching – if you let go of catches in tense moments then they’ll hurt you. The bowlers gave it their all in the end, hats off to them. I feel proud of this bowling unit, the way they fought in this Test match. It’s the work of the bowlers to create opportunities. They were 114 for 7 and there were three opportunities after that. If we cannot grab that as a unit then it will hurt us,” said Waqar.
It was a low-scoring Test match, with 253 being the highest total across four innings. Waqar said there was a lot of help for the fast bowlers, with the batsmen finding the condition very tough.
“The ball was seaming, there were overcast conditions at times. The pitch was not easy for batting. The bowlers found a lot of help, that’s why it was a low-scoring Test match. The batsmen need to apply on pitches like this, and they also need to be positive, as a batsman you need to sometimes take risks. With the Dukes ball, and in conditions like this, it is not going to be easy for the batsmen. They also have to deal with bounce,” Waqar said.
“The conditions are likely to be the same for the second Test. I’m not sure about the (weather) forecast. We want to play in the same way and with the same spirit as we did in the previous Test. We want to avoid the mistakes that we did in the last Test.”
Waqar said he found no problems with Babar Azam’s captaincy in the tense finish, while he also came to the defence of Mohammad Abbas who went wicketless in the second innings.
“He (Babar) captained really well throughout the Test match. It’s not easy for a young captain in Test matches like this but he did a wonderful job. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really finish the game,” Waqar said. “Abbas, I thought, bowled beautifully. There are some days when luck is not on your side. The way Abbas bowled, he should have taken a lot more wickets. He was beating the bat, not finding the edges, that’s part of the game. Abbas is a wonderful professional, he bowled really well but unfortunately, he didn’t take as many wickets as we expected. But that’s fine with me.”