Mushtaq Ahmed blames overexpectations for Yasir Shah's wicketless day of play
Pakistan bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed spoke out in support of leg-spinner Yasir Shah after the latter went wicketless on Day 1 of the second Test between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford on Friday despite bowling as many as 31 overs. The spin legend feels Yasir was weighed down by the expectations of repeating his Man-of-the-Match winning performance in the Lord’s Test and expressed hope that he will come back stronger on Day 2.
Yasir propelled to the top of the World rankings for Test bowlers after his ten-wicket haul in the opening Test at Lord’s gave the visitors a 75-run victory helping them take a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series. However, a determined England side, led by the ever -dependable duo of skipper Alastair Cook and Joe Root who both smashed centuries, kept Yasir at bay helping the hosts reach 314/4 at stumps on Day 1.
Mushtaq felt that Yasir might have got a little carried away with his heroics from the opening match but also added that the first-day pitch was not helping his cause.
"Sometimes the expectation does put you under pressure and you are trying to deliver the same performance," Mushtaq said. "You start losing your basics, discipline and what he did in the last Test match. He got 10 wickets last time and maybe that momentum carried on and he forgot the basics."
"I think the ball wasn't coming nicely from his hand," he added. "We did discuss it, but during a game, it's very hard for a coach to tell a player what to do. But we have good communication so I sent a couple of messages because the ball was coming out flatter with less spin. On a first-day pitch, the margin of error for a legspinner against good players like Root and Cook is very small."
Mushtaq, however, believes that Yasir is a good enough bowler to make amends and come back stronger for the remainder of the match, starting on Saturday.
"I always believe as a good bowler you have to bowl good overs against good players to get them out. He didn't do that today but he will come out tomorrow, he's a strong guy, he wasn't hiding and that's a positive thing," Mushtaq said.
Root, one of the two centurions for England, said that the hosts were determined to correct their mistakes from the Lord’s Test and expressed satisfaction at the manner in which the batsmen were able to deny Yasir any joy thus far in the second Test match.
"It was just nice to see an improvement on the way we played him in the first game," Root said. "Playing him with a straight bat, not going across the ball as much, on a day-one wicket it definitely made it a lot easier for us to take the risk out of it but still rotate the strike and score at a decent rate. We batted at a far better tempo than at Lord's."