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Monday Jun 24 2019

Waqar says 'old Amir' back with swing mojo, hails Haris Sohail's sound technique

Former head coach and fast bowler Waqar Younis Pakistan weren’t worried about losing Sunday's match against South Africa, giving them the freedom to pay their natural game.—File photo

LONDON: Pakistan's former head coach and fast bowler Waqar Younis has praised Mohammad Amir's performance in the World Cup and termed it a return of the old Amir.

The young fast bowler, who was under criticism earlier, came back strongly in the tournament and is now the leading wicket-taker of cricket World Cup 2019.

And, the performance has impressed the former coach Waqar Younis.

"We've also started to get the old Mohammad Amir back, where he's got that mojo of swinging the ball back into the right-hander," Waqar said.

"It's not swinging massively, but the line is right and that's his strength," the former fast bowler highlighted.

The former captain also added that Amir is picking up wickets on a regular basis now, which gives him the confidence to go out and be himself.

"Whenever Pakistan get early wickets, Wahab Riaz and the rest will follow up. In the middle overs, when the ball is reversing, that's where Wahab comes into his own," Waqar wrote in his column for ICC Cricket World Cup.

He highlighted the performance of Pakistan's bowling unit that contributed significantly in win against South Africa at Lord's on Sunday.

"It's about bowling as a unit, which Pakistan did at Lord's, but the ones I actually enjoyed watching the most were Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim as they controlled the middle overs while also picking up wickets," he said.

"They never allowed the South African batsmen to settle, and as a result the Proteas were always under pressure," Waqar wrote about Pakistan's bowling.

Pakistan playing 'fearless cricket'

He further wrote that Pakistan's positive intent was an important factor on Sunday as the team played fearless cricket without being worried about defeat, allowing the players to play their natural game.

According to Waqar, following the defeat against India at Old Trafford, the win was much needed for Pakistan.

"They have been criticised a lot and the last week has been hard on them, so coming out of that and producing such a performance was particularly pleasing," he wrote.

He also praised Haris Sohail and said that in his team Haris would be a regular feature at Number 4.

"He really batted well, and it's probably a different Haris Sohail to the one I've seen before," Waqar mentioned.

"For me, he's my No.4 batsman in the team because he's technically sound and you can give him more overs to build that innings," added Waqar, who is now a cricket commentator.

He added that Pakistan's hopes to qualify for the semi-final are still alive, but they need to play the remaining games in the same manner as they played against South Africa.

"There's not much time between now and the next game against New Zealand, but I think they'll stick to the same team unless there's a real difference in the pitch. If Pakistan keep playing with that freedom, you never know what can happen," he said.

Waqar further wrote that Pakistan would be closely watching England against Australia on Tuesday, which would be a crucial match, particularly if Australia beat England.

"Pakistan will be hoping and praying for an Australia win as that would be best for their own qualification hopes," he concluded.

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