‘No bowler close to 140 kph. Shaheen’s problem is…’: Shastri nails the hammer | Cricket

Pakistan managed to bowl Australia out for 487 and although they were much better on Day 2 of the series opener in Perth, the bowlers on the opening day cut a pretty sorry figure. Without Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, Pakistan’s pace attack lacked bite, and more importantly… pace. Not often does the world get to witness Pakistan bowling without pace, but it certainly was the case at the Optus Stadium. Out of the first 95 overs, Shaheen Afridi bowled only 25, his pace alarmingly ranging in the early 130s.

Ravi Shastri has identified the reason behind Shaheen Afridi’s lacklusture show(Getty Images)

Former India coach Ravi Shastri reckons the reason Pakistan attack lacked fire is the added pressure on Shaheen. His fellow pacer Khurram Shahzad could be seen struggling with fitness and bowling in the mid-120s, whereas Faheem Ashraf was no better, his average speed being a casual 127 kph. With no genuine pacer to fall back on, Shaheen is taking up too much pressure, which Shastri feels isn’t the right approach.

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“I think Shaheen Afridi’s real problem is the pressure of being the spearhead of this Pakistan attack. Without much real support at the other end, when it comes to pace. When you talk of Pakistan and their fast-bowling attack, there is genuine pace all the time. And you don’t have one bowler here who is even close to 140. So that puts immense pressure even on someone like Shaheen,” Shastri said while on commentary.

Jamal shines on debut

Pakistan, however, would take heart from the performance of debutant Aamer Jamal. Coming in as first change, Jamal picked 6/111 including the big wickets of David Warner and Travis Head. With Australia finishing Day 1 on 346/5 and Mitchell Marsh storming his way to 90 off 107 balls, the home team looked set for a lot more – potentially 550-plus – before Jamal’s late burst offered some respite to Pakistan. He went through the lower order as Australia lost their last 5 batters for 76 runs, with Jamal claiming the last four of the five wickets

“I am quite satisfied with the way our bowlers fought back, especially after the first session yesterday,” Pakistan fast bowling coach Umar Gul said after stumps. “It is always difficult for a youngster to play against Australia in Australia. (Jamal) was picked in the 11 because he played a full First-Class season at home and was in good rhythm. We were expecting him to bowl long spells and it was good to see him deliver.”

In reply, Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-Ul-Haq dug deep to put on a partnership of 74 wickets before Nathan Lyon broke through. He had Shafique caught at leg slip for 42 off 121 balls to inch closer to 500 Test wickets. Australia then hit back with two more late wickets as Pakistan clawed to 132/2 to trail by 355 runs at the end of Day 2.

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