File photo of Waqar Younis© AFP
While Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final, there were quite a few positives for the Babar Azam-led team. Despite the absence of frontline pacer Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan did not have any trouble on the fast bowling front. The 19-year-old pace sensation Naseem Shah rose up to the task in his debut T20 tournament. In his first ever T20I, against India, he took the wickets of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. Overall he took seven wickets in five matches at the Asia Cup. Shah’s performance has elated Pakistan pace legend Waqar Younis. Younis was part of the Pakistan coaching staff when Shah made his Test debut in Australia in 2019.
“Everything about him. If you look at Pakistan fast bowling battery, there are few who are really challenging the top seeds. I felt Naseem shah, when I first saw him, was a finished product. A classical action. His opportunity came when (Mohammad) Amir and Wahab (Riaz) pulled out just before the Australia tour. I said ‘take some youngsters and in the coming years, they will be mature.’ He has a perfect run-up, gets to the crease really nicely, gets side on really nicely, hits the deck really well. He has got the pace, that is the key thing for me. He has got Dennis Lillee like action,” Waqar Younis said in a video posted by Pakistan Cricket Board.
“What I like about him is his follow-through. The way he bends down, puts all the pressure on his front leg. He has clean action, front arm is high. His real improvement in this recent Asia cup is that now he bowls big inswingers with the new ball. The Dubai pitch help his bowling and helped him get confidence as a bowler. He has shown great character under pressure,” Wasim Akram added.
Naseem Shah is also part of Pakistan’s 2022 T20 World Cup squad. Pakistan begin their campaign in the marquee event with a game against India on October 23.
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