'Naseem reminds me of myself... sort of free-spirited. But I wasn’t as intelligent': Ex-Australia star's huge comparison
Not only did Naseem impress with the ball in recent Asia Cup, but he also shone with the willow to hit two consecutive sixes in last over of the 'Super 4' game, helping his team beat Afghanistan and qualify for the tournament final.
Young Naseem Shah kept the edge on Pakistan's bowling attack in the absence of pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, who got ruled out of the Asia Cup 2022 with a knee injury. Not only did Naseem impress with the ball, but he also shone with the willow to hit two consecutive sixes in the last over of the 'Super 4' game, helping his team beat Afghanistan and qualify for the tournament final.
Naseem, who won rave reviews from international cricketers and fans, also stood out in his first T20I. The fast bowler struck early with the wicket of KL Rahul for a duck and then bowled Suryakumar Yadav for 18. He returned figures of 2-27 before cramps in the last few overs had him limping. Naseem will be in focus in the upcoming England T20Is, after which Pakistan head to Australia for the hotly-anticipated World T20, which also features a blockbuster Indo-Pak game on October 23.
Former Australian speedster and Pakistan bowling coach Shaun Tait has lavished high praise on Naseem, saying the pacer reminds him of himself. Tait was one of the fastest and domineering international bowlers in his heydays.
“Pakistan fast bowlers have their natural abilities. They like to keep things simple but they’ve got so much ability and have a lot of flare. So, that’s already ingrained in these guys,” said Tait in a press conference on Sunday. "For me, it’s pretty simple building relationship with these guys and giving them confidence."
“In some ways, he reminds me of myself when I was a younger cricketer. He’s sort of free-spirited. But I wasn’t as intelligent. I think you’ve all seen his natural abilities and skill with the new ball,” said the bowling coach.
Naseem also spoke about playing the England T20Is and carrying forward the Asia Cup momentum. "As a bowler, I've to go after every batter but it is important to work according to the team's requirements, the wicket you take when the team needs it the most holds more value than other wickets and those are always special for me," Naseem was quoted as saying to Geo News.
Naseem shared his excitement on facing a quality England side, with players who have already played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and have an idea about conditions.
"It is always exciting to play against a top side on your home soil, I am hopeful of a fair contest between the two sides, we are arriving here from the Asia Cup with good form, so it will be a fruitful series," he said.
"Several England players have played in Pakistan before during PSL and they know about the conditions and opponents. They'll play according to their strength and we'll play according to ours. It is our condition and we know our strengths well."
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