Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Young quicks can handle Smith, Aussies: Waqar
Test legend has confidence in rookie speedsters on their first tour of Australia
14 November 2019, 06:17 PM AEST
Pakistan great Waqar Younis has backed his country’s young pace attack to not be overawed by master batter Steve Smith in the upcoming two-match Domain Test Series against Australia.
Smith gave Pakistan an early taste of his capabilities with a majestic 80 not out from 51 balls in last week’s second Gillette T20I in Canberra as he was crowned player of the series despite batting just once across the three matches.
The world’s No.1 Test batter then displayed his incredible ability to shift gears in New South Wales’ Marsh Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia on Tuesday, posting his slowest first-class century from 290 balls.
Smith is also coming off a prolific Ashes series in England, during which he scored 774 runs at 110.57 in four Tests.
Pakistan has selected a trio of teenage quicks for the Test series, which starts at the Gabba next Thursday.
Uncapped pair Musa Khan and Naseem Shah have been included in Pakistan’s squad, along with 19-year-old Shaheen Shan Afridi, who has three Tests to his name.
Musa, who is 19, has 17 wickets in seven first-class matches and topped 145kph on his debut in the Pakistan Super League T20 competition earlier this year.
The 16-year-old Naseem also has 17 wickets in five first-class matches.
Waqar, who has returned as Pakistan's bowling coach, said confronting champion players was "the name of the game" at international level.
"These guys have played a lot of cricket before. They have toured before – not Musa, but Naseem Shah and of course Shaheen Afridi have toured South Africa, so they know these sorts of pitches where there is more bounce," Waqar said.
"Of course … an intimidating factor is going to be there, but they have to cope (with) it.
"I’m sure these guys will be able to do it. I have no doubt in that."
Naseem showcased his pace in the three-day tour match against Australia A at Perth Stadium, returning 1-21 from eight overs and removing Marcus Harris for 20.
Afridi also impressed, collecting match figures of 3-64.
But all the heavy lifting will not to be left to Pakistan’s inexperienced players.
Mohammad Abbas, who dismantled Australia with 17 wickets in two Tests in their series in the UAE last October, has also been selected.
Imran Khan Senior, who played the last of his nine Tests in Sydney in January 2017, has also earned a recall.
Abbas did not feature against Australia A in Perth because of a tooth infection, while Imran dismantled a star-studded 'A' team with 5-32 from 12 overs in the first innings.
"He’s a very smart bowler. He knows what he’s doing," Waqar said of Abbas.
"He reminds me a bit of Glenn McGrath. He bowls that channel really well.
"He’s been in great form last time Pakistan played Australia, but those pitches were very different. I hope he adapts quickly."
But Waqar, Pakistan’s second-most prolific Test bowler in history with 373 wickets from 87 matches, warned his pacemen not to get seduced by the pace and bounce on offer in Australia.
Australia prevailed 3-0 in the last series between the pair Down Under, despite Pakistan piling on totals of 450 and 443 in the opening two Tests.
"Sometimes you get carried away … because of the bounce here," Waqar said.
"It makes you feel you’re the world-beater. It’s not the case.
"You have to really bowl in the right channel to get wickets, which I’ve learnt over the years.
"That’s my job, to help them out and try to tell them and get the best out of them to bowl in the right areas."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Australia A, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)