London: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammed Asif has received coach Waqar Younis’ backing despite his lacklustre performance in the two-day practice game against Leicestershire, ahead of the first Test against Australia starting July 13 at Lord’s.
Asif, who did not feature in Pakistan’s 2-0 triumph over the Kangaroos in the T20 series, looked rusty on the first day of the warm game as he went wicketless for 17 overs while giving away 54 runs.
However, Waqar said that Asif’s figures were not important in the context of the tour as a whole.
“We do not want to put too much stress on any one individual. We wanted short spells from him (Asif). He has played quite a bit of cricket recently and has just had a couple of weeks’ rest,” The News quoted Waqar, as saying.
He said that conditions didn’t suit Asif, who is likely to lead Pakistan’s pace attack in the two match Test series against Ricky Ponting’s men.
“He looks fresh. The pitch was slow and did not suit him. You can’t judge someone on that pitch. But he’s our premier bowler and I am really trusting him. I feel he’s ready and he will be fine for the Australian game,” Waqar said.
There was more worry for Waqar after pacer Tanvir Ahmed , who took two wickets, went off midway through his 14th over, but the coach played down the speedster’s injury.
“Tanvir had cramp, that was all. He only arrived in this country on Wednesday night so he was suffering a bit of jet lag, but there is no problem. The wicket was not conducive to what we were really looking for but we got in a fair amount of bowling on the day and that’s what we needed,” said Waqar.