LAHORE: Head coach Waqar Younis on Monday promised to rejuvenate Pakistan’s fast-bowling department. Waqar, who in May accepted the coaching job for the second time in four years, told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium he wanted pace to play a pivotal role in Pakistan cricket again. “We shouldn’t just be depending on our spinners, we also need to rely on our pace bowlers. We have some talented pacers and they can be groomed for the future,” he added.
He said he would bring the same passion and mindset to the job as he did during his first term with the national side. He said he had learned a lot from his previous stint, and that his top priority was preparing the side for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Pakistan play Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand, giving them at least seven Tests, 13 ODIs and three T20s before the World Cup. “The target is of course the World Cup but the other series are also important. I know our people are very emotional, every ball, every over, every match will be important and I hope the team will deliver and the tours will be successful to build up strongly to the World Cup.”
As a player, Waqar formed a formidable new-ball attack with Wasim Akram, finishing with 373 Test and 416 one-day international wickets. He and Wasim shared a total of 1705 wickets in Tests and ODIs. Waqar’s first assignment of his two-year contract as coach is a tour of Sri Lanka in August, where Pakistan play two Tests and three ODIs. “Even in Sri Lanka we will not just depend on our spinners - the pace bowlers are also being prepared to do their work in those conditions. Pakistan have been blessed with some world-class pace and spin bowlers and I want to make both of them equally important for the team,” he said.
Waqar pointed out that Pakistan had a proud history of producing fast bowlers. “One part of my job is to groom the pace talent we have available,” he said. In the past four years Pakistan’s dependence on their spinners, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman and others, has grown in Tests and one-day internationals. In contrast, the reliance on pace has decreased since 2010 following the spot-fixing bans handed out to former pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
Waqar said the tour to Sri Lanka would be tough, since Sri Lanka had been playing non-stop cricket and a lot of Test matches. “They have recently played England and South Africa, two good Test sides, so it will be a Test for us in their conditions. But in the past we have done well there so I am confident.” Waqar said Pakistan would be playing three full series before the World Cup in early 2015 and he wanted to use them to prepare a strong nucleus for the one-day tournament in Australia and New Zealand. “But at the same time we also have to ensure we do well in these series and create a positive momentum,” he said.
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