Dubai: It was a two-minute conversation with Waqar Younis, the pace bowling legend and now Pakistan’s bowling coach, which enabled Sohail Khan return with figures of five for 50 in 20.1 overs during a practice camp in England on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old Khan’s five-wicket haul helped Azhar Ali’s Team Green beat Babar Azam’s Team White by six wickets in a four-day practice match. The Pakistan team reached England early for the quarantine period and will play three Tests and as many T20Is there, with the first Test to be played at Manchester from August 5.
Prior to the practice match, Sohail had a conversation with Waqar Younis on the art of perfecting late swing. “The conditions in England are swing conducive so every fast bowler gets the ball to move. I asked Waqar bhai to teach me how to swing the ball late. It took him only two minutes to explain it to me. It is because of his tips that I took five wickets in the first innings,” Khan told Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) website.
“I am eager to learn from Waqar Bhai. I follow him wherever he goes and speak to him about the art of bowling as he has an abundance of knowledge to share. A few days back I was struggling with something while bowling, I thought of reaching out to him and even before I spoke to him about it, he said he knew what I wanted to talk to him about and he explained it to me in a minute,” he added.
During Pakistan’s tour of England in 2016, Sohail played a crucial role in helping Pakistan secure a 2-2 Test series draw by returning two five-wicket hauls in as many matches.
In total, he picked up 13 wickets at 25 apiece and finished as the third-best wicket-taker.
Praise for Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi
“Definitely, it is an honour for me to return to the side. I had taken two fifers here against England in 2016 and now in the practice match, I have started off with five wickets so I am feeling very good. We had been at our homes for the past four months due to coronavirus so starting off on a high feels nice,” Khan said.
Prior to Sohail’s five wickets, 17-year-old Naseem Shah made a big impact when he took five wickets for Team Green. The strength of Pakistan’s pace attack was further established as Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up three wickets each providing valuable support to Naseem and Sohail respectively.
Naseem and Shaheen finished the match with six and four wickets, respectively.
Speaking about the youngsters’ performances, Sohail said: “It gives me immense pleasure to see Naseem Shah. He bowls consistently at 150kph. Just like him, Shaheen Shah Afridi is another good bowler. I like both of them.”