LONDON - Pakistan’s bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has praised his side for their incredible performance, while he also was all praise for his bowlers. He said that the side was blessed to have a young bunch of talented and capable bowlers, who can deliver on the field, especially by taking wickets regularly.

“It’s not rocket-science to realise that in the modern-day game, where boundaries are small, and bats are big, it is absolute madness to think that you can simply contain a top-quality opposition team by drying out runs. The only real way to stop runs from being scored against you is by taking wickets. In this regard, we are very blessed that we have a bunch of guys who are wicket-takers and are able to effectively execute the plans given to them and deliver on the field. There is an amazing mind-set among these bowlers that they need to get the batsmen out and not just worry about containing them, which is very important for the team as a whole,” wrote Mahmood, in an article on Pak Passion website.

“With this bowling line-up we are confident of taking wickets at every stage of the game regardless of how well the opposition is doing at that time. The proof of our recent progress is in the fact that in the last 9 ODI games, the most any team has scored against us is 236 which is a great sign for Pakistan cricket. On top of that, our bench-strength is improving rapidly with each back-up player who is called up performing really well when given the chance.”

Mahmood also believes Faheem Ashraf has the ability to overshadow him and Abdul Razzaq.

Mahmood, in his write-up for PakPassion, explained why Faheem can go on to become better than the two greats.

“What a player Faheem has proved to be,” exclaimed Mahmood. “When I first saw him in the emerging players camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best. He is a fantastic talent who has the skills and the desire to improve and work hard. I feel that cricket is all about confidence, and if given that confidence, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder.”

Mahmood continued by saying that the 23-year-old is being backed by everyone so he can gain more confidence and develop his skills further.

“I know that a lot of people complain about the lack of good all-rounders, but considering the manner in which Faheem is progressing, people will soon forget about the past,” said Mahmood. “Faheem is hard working and he needs to continue doing so in the future as well. He will always have our backing and encouragement and the results of that backing are there for all to see.”

The 42-year-old then pointed towards Faheem’s heroics. “His hat-trick in the second T20I and the two sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills, which can only be good for Pakistan cricket.”

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s action was reported for a third time in three years and underwent a biomechanical test at Loughborough on October 1.

Hafeez hoping for good results after bowling action test.

“From the videos we have recorded of Hafeez’s bowling action, and from what our analyst can ascertain, his action looks very similar to before and there is no discernible change in his action,” said Mahmood. “The final decision on his action, obviously, rests with the International Cricket Council and that will become clear when the results come out.”

The bowling coach added that he wants to use Lahore University of Management Sciences’ biomechanics laboratory to avoid future problems. “In the future, I intend to use this facility a little more to monitor our bowlers, to prevent injuries and also to keep an eye on actions, so such issues can be avoided.”

Pakistan leftt-arm pacer Aamir was ruled out of the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Cricket Board was criticised for not managing his work-load, but Mahmood thinks otherwise.

“There have been some discussions regarding Mohammad Amir’s work-load and his subsequent injury problems. Unfortunately, in today’s cricket, apart from the stress on the body brought on by the games they play, players are suffer due to travelling and a lack of rest,” he explained. “Add to that the severe heat which we experienced in the UAE in the recent series, possibly the worst weather I have ever been exposed to, and you can understand the problems of fitness that can arise in such circumstances.”