Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq is not happy that fast bowler Mohammad Amir has quit Test cricket and fellow paceman Wahab Riaz is taking an indefinite break.
The 27-year-old Amir retired from Tests in July to prolong his Pakistan career in one-day internationals and Twenty20s. In September, the 34-year-old Riaz asked the Pakistan Cricket Board not to consider him for Tests as he wanted to concentrate on white-ball cricket.
“You invest so much on these players, and when preference should be given to the country and you go elsewhere, it’s not the right thing to do,” an angry Misbah said on Tuesday.
He was in the southern port city of Karachi, preparing for the second Test against Sri Lanka from Thursday.
Amir and Riaz were missed in recent Tests. Pakistan lost in Australia twice by an innings each, and last week during the historic first home Test in 10 years, Pakistan’s young pacers couldn’t bowl out Sri Lanka in pace-friendly conditions. Amir and Riaz opted to play in the Bangladesh league.
Misbah, who is also the chief selector and the national team’s batting coach, said the PCB will soon make a policy that will discourage players from leaving Test cricket when the country needs them.
“We are thinking hard on these lines, and soon we will make a policy on this (because) it can be a problem for Pakistan in the future,” he said. “You spend so much on them, and the first availability should be for Pakistan.”
Pakistan has only 20 points after three Tests in the World Test Championship. The only heartening things for Misbah were the batting form of Babar Azam and the arrival of new batting star Abid Ali, whose century at Rawalpindi made him the only male in cricket history to score a century on debut in Tests and ODIs.
“We need to put in a lot of effort in our bowling,” Misbah said. “Unless we take 20 wickets, how can we win a Test match?”
Misbah has pinned high hopes on young fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi and 16-year-old Naseem Shah, who both played in Australia and against Sri Lanka in the first Test.
“The way Shaheen and Naseem are bowling, they are consistently hitting 140-plus (kph), and they are developing into match-winners,” Misbah said. “They have long futures. They have played very little cricket, but that’s the positive for Pakistan.”
Left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari, who made his Test debut at Rawalpindi, might not play in the second Test after he was hospitalized with a fever on Tuesday.