"These guys, despite playing shorter formats, don't have adequate fitness" - Rashid Latif lashes out at Pakistan bowling unit 

India v Pakistan - Asia Cup
Pakistan's bowling unit has faced several injuries in recent times

Former Pakistan wicket-keeper Rashid Latif has criticized the current fitness levels of the bowlers. He feels their fitness is pale in comparison to the former legendary bowlers. The Men in Green boast a threatening bowling unit as always, but each candidate comes with his own set of challenges to make it a complicated issue that can only be resolved with good performances.

Pakistan took some radical decisions surrounding their bowling unit for the 2024 T20 World Cup. They included both Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, who reversed their international retirements to be in contention for the competition in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA).

Rashid Latif outlined fitness as a major concern and said he fails to understand how it is an issue in the age of workload management and the shorter format being more prevalent.

"A lot of bowlers like Shaheen, Naseem, Rauf, Shadab came back from injury and now Imad Wasim is injured. The biggest issue has been the fitness of the bowlers. Former greats like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mohammad Asif were way fitter than them and never used to miss any Tests or ODIs. But these guys, despite playing shorter formats, don't have adequate fitness," Latif told PTI

Naseem Shah had to miss the 2023 ODI World Cup due to injury while Haris Rauf is coming into the tournament after recovering from a dislocated shoulder injury. Spinner Imad Wasim has already been ruled out of Pakistan's opening encounter against co-hosts USA due to a side strain.

"If you have four bowlers with the same role, who will bowl in the middle overs" - Rashid Latif

The former player was also left puzzled with the bowling combination as it includes a slew of bowlers who are capable of bowling with the new ball, leaving them short-handed for the middle phase. On paper, Shadab Khan's four overs of leg spin come with great assurance in the middle phase, especially when there are right-handed batters around. However, given his current form, Pakistan will need a backup option as well.

"They bring back Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim. Earlier when these two bowlers used to play for Pakistan and in the PSL, they used to bowl the early overs between 1-4. Now, Rauf and Shaheen perform the same role, if you have four bowlers with the same role, who will bowl in the middle overs?" Latif questioned

He compared Pakistan's spin bowling attack with the one Team India has in place, and praised the latter for its variety and role clarity.

"Look at India, they have got Kuldeep, Axar, Jadeja and Chahal who can bowl in the middle and also the early overs. Pakistan couldn't develop Abrar Ahmed much. If Shadab Khan goes for runs in the middle overs, Pakistan doesn't have a lot of cover," he concluded

The Men in Green are scheduled to face India in a high-octane contest on Sunday, June 9, in New York

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