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Mohammad Abbas still our main man: Waqar Younis

By Agencies
November 24, 2019

BRISBANE: Mohammad Abbas is still Pakistan's “main man” according to Waqar Younis and will be seriously considered for the second Test in Adelaide after the visitors turned in a listless bowling display in his absence at the Gabba, leaving them facing the likelihood of an innings defeat inside four days.

The decision to play Imran Khan ahead of Abbas has attracted widespread criticism and surprise, which only grew as the Australians churned out a first innings of 580 in Brisbane with big centuries to David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne.

Waqar, Pakistan's bowling coach, explained that Abbas was still on a long road back from the shoulder injury that he suffered against New Zealand last year, subsequently being recalled somewhat hastily against South Africa and then playing for Leicestershire in the English County Championship.

Waqar indicated that Abbas' return to rhythm would hopefully occur in time for him to play with a pink ball under lights at the Adelaide Oval, in what now looks likely to be a match Pakistan must win to square the series.

“Mohammad Abbas has been a match winner for us over the last 18 months, he's been bowling really well,” Waqar said. “Unfortunately he's not at his best rhythm and recently back in the New Zealand tour he had an injury so he wasn't bowling as good as he has done in the past against Australia and of course in England. But we're not losing hope in him, he's our main man and we're going to have a really close look and hopefully once we get into Adelaide we'll think about it.”

Pakistan have insisted from the moment Abbas was dropped that he is not injured. This is now likely to invite scrutiny on how Abbas has been managed since that injury, which forced him to miss the last Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and the first Test in South Africa.

Since then he has played two Tests in South Africa, three ODIs against Australia in March, a substantial portion of the county season, and three games in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy as well.

“It's a decision that depends on the head coach and the selectors on who'll play and who won't,” Waqar said. “But it would be injustice against Imran Khan to say that his selection was unjustified.”

Waqar said that the youth of Naseem Shah (16) and Shaheen Afridi (19) needed to be considered. “You can learn from your opposition always. Naseem is only 16 don't forget. Even Shaheen Shah is a teenager. Of course they're going to learn a lot from this tour, going further into their careers,” Waqar said.