Former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif has opined that the current national team bowlers are much older than what their official ages suggest. He made this observation in light of their inability to bowl long spells and run through opposition batting lineups.
Mohammad Asif shared his views on the current state of Pakistan cricket during an interaction with Kamran Akmal on the latter's YouTube channel.
Akmal asked Mohammad Asif why the current set of Pakistan bowlers are unable to take 20 wickets like himself and Shoaib Akhtar in the recent past as well as Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis before that.
He responded by saying that it has been a while since a Pakistani quick took a 10-wicket match haul. Asif also talked about the eagerness shown by bowlers in his era to bowl on seamer-friendly conditions seen in the recently-concluded first Test against New Zealand.
Mohammad Asif bemoaned the lack of control exhibited by the current set of Pakistan pacers.
"I feel it might have been 5-6 years since a fast bowler took 10 wickets in a match. We used to salivate after seeing the pitches like the ones in New Zealand. There was no question of leaving the ball as a fast bowler. I never used to leave the ball before taking a five-wicket haul," said Asif.
The former pacer continued in this regard:
"These kids do not have the knowledge. They don't know how to keep the batsman on the front foot, not give them a single and how to bowl on the wickets. When they try to bowl on the wickets, it goes down the leg-side. They do not have the control."
Mohammad Asif also questioned the authenticity of their official ages and reasoned that it is evident by their lack of flexibility.
"And they are so aged. It is written as 17-18 years on paper, but they are actually 27-28 years old because they don't have the flexibility to bowl 20-25 overs. They don't know how to bend the body; they become stiff. They are not able to stand on the field after bowling a 5-6 over spell," observed Asif.
"We do not have quality but only quantity at the moment" - Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Asif agreed with Kamran Akmal when asked if the current set of Pakistan quicks have been blooded too early as they have not bowled much in domestic cricket.
"Yes, you are right. They don't have the experience. They should have played 40-50 matches in domestic cricket and they should know when their body is fatigued and what they have to do when they come to bowl the next day and how to manage their bodies," said Asif
He signed off by talking about the lack of quality in the Pakistan pace attack, saying that the bowlers are only interested in retaining their spots in the team.
"They only come and bowl 10-12 overs. They say they are confirmed in the team. We do not have quality but only quantity at the moment. The ten to twelve fast bowlers in the queue are all similar. You can remove anyone, and put the other person in the middle," concluded Mohammad Asif
The Pakistan bowlers frittered away the advantage of winning the toss and having inserted the Kiwis into bat on a green top at Mount Maunganui in the first Test.
Although Shaheen Afridi did get rid of the New Zealand openers cheaply, Pakistan let Kane Williamson and the rest of the Black Caps off the hook by allowing them to score a mammoth 431 runs on a pacer-friendly surface.