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Waqar Younis satisfied despite final Test defeat

SHARJAH: Coach of National Cricket team Waqar Younis Monday termed Pakistan’s performance over five Tests as “extremely good” as they beat Australia 2-0 and levelled the series against New Zealand 1-1.

Pakistan went down by an innings and 80 runs in the third and final Test against New Zealand in Sharjah on Sunday, an ending Waqar felt should not be criticised.

“It would have been icing on the cake and a happy ending had we won the last Test and the series against New Zealand but if I analyse the performance in the five Tests I found it extremely good,” Waqar told AFP.

Pakistan’s October win — also in United Arab Emirates — was their first against Australia in 20 years.

Waqar said he was proud of his team.

“I am proud of the boys, the entire nation should be proud of them,” said Waqar. “We had a depleted bowling attack but they delivered in both the series, they couldn’t finish it off but I am still very happy.”

Pakistan were without their ace spinner Saeed Ajmal who is under suspension over illegal bowling action since September.

But left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and leggie Yasir Shah took 27 wickets apiece in the five Tests to fill the void well.

Waqar said the abandonment of the second day’s play in the third Test against New Zealand because of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’s death had not helped.

“It’s not an excuse but the abandonment broke our team’s rhythm,” said Waqar of Thursday’s play abandoned after the news of Hughes death came from Australia.

Hughes died of head injury two days after being hit by a bouncer in a first class match in Sydney.

“Our boys lost rhythm and when the Test began after a day’s gap we lost our way,” said Waqar of Pakistan’s first innings derailed from first day’s score of 281-3 to 351 all out on the second morning.

Waqar predicted a good future for Pakistan in Test cricket.

“Look, you need discipline in Tests which begins from the hotel room, like how you are resting during the five-day game and then bowling, fielding and batting all need discipline and these boys are capable of keeping that discipline in future,” said Waqar, who played 87 Tests and 262 one-day internationals for Pakistan as a frontline paceman.

Waqar said paceman Rahat Ali has progressed by leaps and bounds.

“Rahat had come a long way and when you play five Tests it takes a lot of fitness and resolve and he has shown that in abundance,” said Waqar of the left-arm paceman.

Waqar said Pakistan’s batting led by Younis Khan and skipper Misbah-ul Haq was impressive.

“Younis and Misbah were outstanding and the way Misbah led the team was praiseworthy,” said Waqar.

Pakistan and New Zealand now play two Twenty20s in Dubai on December 4 and 5 followed by five one-day internationals. -AFP

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