Monday Dec 23 2019

Naseem reveals coach Waqar's influence in record-breaking five-fer

Pakistan's cricketers celebrate after the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (unseen) during the fourth day of the second Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on December 22, 2019. Photo: AFP

KARACHI: Fast bowler Naseem Shah has revealed that after going wicket-less in first innings of Karachi Test against Sri Lanka, bowling coach Waqar Younis told him that great bowlers are those who make strong comeback after a failure.

Speaking to media after his five-fer against Sri Lanka that helped Pakistan to a victory, the 16-year-old said that he was motivated to do well in the second innings after going wicket-less in the first innings.

“Even in first innings I was bowling according to the plans but unfortunately I couldn’t get wickets, there was a catch dropped off my bowling as well,” Shah said.

“But, I was motivated after Waqar [Younis] told me that great bowlers are those who can make a strong comeback after a poor day in middle,” he added.

The teenage pace sensation added that when he saw [Mohammad] Abbas and Shaheen [Shah Afridi] taking wickets in first innings, he asked himself if they could take wickets why can’t he?

Shah ended with bowling figures of 5/31 in the second innings. He is now the youngest fast bowler at the age of 16 years 311 days to claim a five-wicket-haul in a Test innings.

Read also: Naseem Shah becomes youngest fast bowler to take five-wicket haul in Tests

However, the pacer says his focus was performance and not the age and he does not think much about his age or being young.

“I never thought about being youngest to achieve any feat, I am just focused on my performance and hardwork,” Shah said.

The young fast bowler got emotional while talking about the tragedy he faced during the tour to Australia when just before the start of the series, when he received the news of his mother passing away. Naseem had opted to stay with the team after consulting with the team.

“I don’t have words to explain how difficult it was, it is better that I don’t share those feelings with anyone here,” he said.

“I had planned this before my debut that I will dedicate my first five-wicket haul to my mother so that she could see me on TV,” Shah added.