Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan seamer Umar Gul believes that the pace duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah have bright futures ahead of them.
Afridi was the most successful Pakistan bowler in the recently concluded two-Test series against Sri Lanka with eight wickets at an average of 23.25.
Naseem finished with seven wickets at an average of 27.71, but also made history in the second Test in Karachi, which Pakistan won by 263 runs.
The 16-year-old dismissed Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya and Vishwa Fernando to become the youngest pace bowler to take a five-for in Test cricket.
“The emergence, after a very long time, of a group of young fast-bowlers who can all bowl above the 140kph mark is a hugely encouraging sign for Pakistan cricket,” Gul told PakPassion. “But here I will sound a note of caution and ask for everyone to allow them time to develop and not lose patience with them if they have one or two bad games.
“All these young bowlers have a lot of talent and skills, but they are new to international cricket and it’s here where they need a guiding hand that only experienced players can provide. Whilst in the shorter formats, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz can help the youngsters on the field, we will have a problem in Tests.
“The likes of Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi do not have that much experience in first-class cricket and there is no other senior fast-bowler who can help them on the field. However, I am encouraged by the fact that in Waqar Younis as bowling coach, the youngsters will have a good teacher to show them what is needed to perform well in Tests.
“Both of these young bowlers have performed really well for Pakistan in recent times but they have a long way to go before they can become great fast bowlers. In Pakistan, we tend to label any new fast bowler after one or two good performances as the next Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Shoaib Akhtar, when the reality is that bowlers have to perform well for long periods before being recognized as great. All we can say is that we have a talented group of young fast bowlers who if developed well can perform wonders for the country in the future.”