Pakistan 'missed a trick' in defeat to England in first Test and lacked flair, says Wasim Akram
"Pakistan cricket is all about flair, unpredictability and attacking cricket; we're not county bowlers who are just going to come and bowl line and length all day long"
By Wasim Akram
Last Updated: 08/08/20 9:10pm
Pakistan bowling great Wasim Akram was critical of Azhar Ali's captaincy, saying he "missed a trick", as they fell to defeat defending 277 in the first #raisethebat Test against England.
England clinched a memorable three-wicket win at Emirates Old Trafford, led by a brilliant 139-run stand between Jos Buttler (75) and Chris Woakes (84no) which took the game away from the visitors.
Buttler's place in the England side has been called into questioned after wicketkeeping errors in this Test and having only one Test ton to his name, in 2018, while Woakes averaged just 5.22 with the bat in his previous six Tests.
"It will hurt," Wasim said on Pakistan's defeat. "It will hurt the Pakistan team and the cricket lovers in Pakistan.
"Winning and losing is part of cricket, but I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned.
"When Woakes came in, there were no bouncers, no short deliveries, they let him settle down and runs were coming easy.
"Once the partnership got going, nothing happened - the turn didn't happen, swing didn't happen - and Buttler and Woakes just took the game away."
Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain also questioned Pakistan's bowling tactics and why England weren't subjected to the usual array of bouncers and yorkers from their quick bowlers.
"They must have video footage of Woakes," Hussain said. "Woakes got hit on the head [in the first innings] and has been a bit wafty with the short ball and they didn't go at him at all.
"Naseem [Shah] bowled only 13 overs and, if you're going to save him, save him for some chin music.
"When we played against Pakistan - albeit greats like Wasim and Waqar - on a pitch like that, they would take it out of the equation if it went flat.
"Then, when you were fending it off, it would be at your toes, at the base of the stumps.
"Maybe the coach is trying to get this discipline into the bowlers, dry up the runs, but there has to be a period with Pakistan cricket where they go, 'you know what we're good at, we're good at going at you'."
Wasim was asked off the back of Hussain's comments whether Pakistan's pursuit of discipline from their pace attack was a reasonable excuse, but he wasn't having it.
"I hope not," answered Wasim. "Pakistan cricket is all about flair, unpredictability and attacking cricket.
"We're not county bowlers who are just going to come and bowl line and length all day long.
"We've got a 17-year-old [Naseem], who bowls 90mph, a 20-year-old [Shaheen Afridi], who is around 88mph, and they should be bowling a lot more overs - 18-20 overs each innings, no matter the situation."
As for Pakistan captain Azhar, speaking at the post-match presentation, he chose to credit the brilliance of Buttler and Woakes, rather than question his team's efforts, comparing it to Ben Stokes' famous match-winning knock at Headingley last year.
"Credit to England, especially Buttler and Woakes," said Azhar. "When we were sitting in a very comfortable position, they took the game on and the pitch started to do nothing when they were playing.
"They changed the momentum of the game and unfortunately we couldn't reply to whatever they threw at us.
"It's tough when someone plays like that to keep the field up or keep the boundaries dry, but sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition and it was one of the best match-winning innings' of recent past.
"Stokes played one against Australia and this one is not far behind because the situation was tough for the batting side."
Watch the second #raisethebat Test between England and Pakistan, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Thursday.