Misbah-ul-Haq wants control, not just pace, from teenage firebrands


Naseem wouldn’t be the first fast bowler to get a touch of white line fever at the Gabba. Bowlers far more experienced than him have been seduced by the idea of added bounce and bowled too short with the new ball  rather than giving it some air and building pressure outside off stump.

Misbah appears as excited about Naseem as anyone but wants a degree of restraint against top-shelf operators like Steve Smith, who he said would simply take them to the cleaners if they failed to follow any sort of plan as a bowling unit.

“Naseem is a fine bowler, a young bowler, but at the same time cricket discipline remains the same. No matter how quick you are, I think if you execute your plans well, then you have a chance,” Misbah said.

“Any batsman in the world, there is an area where you have to defend the ball, and that is the top of off stump. If it’s happening [swinging and seaming], that creates a great chance. If it’s not happening, you have less chances of doing anything with the ball. It’s about consistency.

Shaheen Afridi takes the wicket of Australia A bat Joe Burns in the tour match in Perth.Credit:Getty

“Top players in the world, if you miss those areas, then they are good enough to cash in. You have to be very, very disciplined.”

Naseem was able to rough up some good players in Perth, including recently dropped Test bat Usman Khawaja, and will no doubt get his chance to send some heat towards Smith and company in Brisbane.

But Misbah wants a tight, team-focused performance from his fast bowlers, which includes another teenager in 19-year-old left-arm new baller Shaheen Afridi, rather than a scattergun effort and   hoping for the best.

“Then it comes to Plan B or Plan C, then we are going to attack him. Let’s see. We’ve talked about the balance. The roles are defined and these bowlers are starting to understand that. A young attack like this, they are starting to understand what they need to do here.

Naseem Shah must bring some discipline with his natural pace.

Naseem Shah must bring some discipline with his natural pace.Credit:Getty Images AsiaPac

“I believe if you get good pace behind the ball and put it in good areas, you create chances. I think they can . . . the way Naseem is bowling at the moment, Shaheen   is very important with the new ball. We hope they can do it. But we need to be very, very disciplined.”

Misbah also welcomed any moves to have Australia tour Pakistan for the first time in 20 years, off the back of a 2020 Sri Lankan tour that will see them be the first team to play there since the 2009 Lahore bus attack.

“There are a few tours and teams that are coming there but they miss the teams like Australia; they  want the top teams to tour Pakistan. It would be great for Pakistan cricket and great for international cricket,” he said.

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