Home Sport Injuries to key players have blunted bowling attack says Pakistan coach

Injuries to key players have blunted bowling attack says Pakistan coach

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In both matches, Pakistan opted to field a four-man bowling attack, with the spin of Yasir Shah supported by three pacers

Cricket - South Africa v Pakistan - Second Test - PPC Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa - January 6, 2019 Pakistans Sarfraz Ahmed looks on after the match. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has put down an injury to leg-spinner Shadab Khan as the reason behind why the visitors have not used a five-man bowling attack across the first two Tests against South Africa.

In both matches, Pakistan opted to field a four-man bowling attack, with the spin of Yasir Shah supported by three pacers.

While the first Test saw South Africa triumph by six wickets, the second saw to a more resounding victory by the Proteas, chasing a target of 41 runs within 10 overs after captain Faf du Plessis’ ton helped South Africa to a first innings total of 431.

With just four frontline bowlers, part-time overs for Pakistan were found from Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq.

A player who has been ignored thus far is Faheem Ashraf, the fast-bowling all-rounder, with Arthur deeming him not ready to fulfil the task of batting at number seven.

“I am a big fan of the five-bowler strategy,” Arthur told reporters in an interview. “It gives us the added option of providing our frontline seamers with a rest while still maintaining control of the innings.

“But to do that, we need a fully fit Shadab Khan, who is a genuine all-rounder. With Faheem batting at seven, we feared the tail would be just a bit too long.”

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (pictured) has occupied the No 7 spot in both Tests thus far, recording a pair at Centurion before hitting an impressive first innings half-century at Newlands.

Arthur added that while he believes that Faheem has a bright future, he remains a work in progress.

“Make no mistake, I’m a huge admirer of Faheem Ashraf and I said so in England. I am confident he will develop into a proper all-rounder for Pakistan, but there is a process of natural evolution that needs to take place.

“In what are very challenging conditions, we need runs on the board, and we weren’t confident that if we played Faheem at seven, followed by four bowlers, we were giving ourselves the best chance of making enough runs.”

ANA