Saqlain Mushtaq sees Pindi pitch unhelpful for Pak bowlers

ISLAMABAD, Dec 01 (APP): Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq, while terming the pitch at Pindi Cricket Stadium ‘unhelpful for Pakistani bowlers’ on the opening day of first Test, credited English batters for playing well and dominating with the bat on Thursday.

“There is no turn or swing on the pitch. England played very well and we didn’t bowl as per our plans,” he said in a presser after the end of the first day game.

He said people enjoyed a lot, the way England played cricket. “Nothing went well for us and the pitch seemed the same as was in the Test against Australia earlier this year. I think the pitch should have been supportive,” he said.

Saqlain said these were the best available bowlers Pakistan had as Shaheen Shah Afridi was also injured. “Naseem Shah did well in the series against Australia and Sri Lanka while Mohammad Ali was the top performer in the domestic season and Haris Rauf was also knocking with his performance. Test cricket is a different format and it takes time so we picked the best Playing we had.”

To a question, he said we put a lot of brains into the training session of whom to pick between Abrar Ahmed and Zahid Mahmood. “We watched both closely in the camp and they were bowling well in the nets. Zahid is with the team for almost a year now and didn’t get the opportunity while Abrar was coming for the domestic circuit. Therefore Zahid was in an international environment for quite a long time now and we did justice as he was on the waiting list,” he said.

He said it was in our strategy to go with three genuine fast bowlers. “Two were Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah and we needed a bowler who can do longer spells so we found Ali who was doing well in the domestic. We had to prepare Haris and Naseem for the longer format as they were coming after playing the shorter version of the game. Ali also impressed coach Shaum Tait and Skipper Babar Azam in the nets,” he said.

Mushtaq said the match was looking very exciting and he hopes it goes in Pakistan’s favour. “I think after the series against Australia, the Pakistan team has been playing T20s only. I congratulate England as they played well, but we will play with our strength,” he said.