Lahore, 4 May 2020: PCB’s Digital Pairs series for Test players has gained great popularity among the fans, current and former players, pundits and journalists. The campaign entered its third phase yesterday Sunday, 3 May, with the followers asked to name two fast bowling pairs of their choice.
Asked to choose a bowling partner to form a dream pair both from the list of former bowlers and the current lot representing Pakistan in Test cricket, Shoaib Akhtar (hailed as one of the fastest bowlers in the history of the game) named Imran Khan and Naseem Shah as his partners.
Shoaib Akhtar said: “If I pick a former fast bowler, I feel I would have been very fortunate if I would have bowled with Imran Khan with both of us at the peak of our bowling careers. If we would have bowled together we would have had the same mindset of attacking the stumps relentlessly.
“Among the present lot, I feel Naseem Shah can replicate my bowling attitude and passion. Naseem and I would have made a fine pair with the same attacking attitude.”
The criterion for selection of the bowlers is a minimum of 75 Test wickets. In 46 Tests, Shoaib took 178 wickets at 25.69.
Despite not making the list (Four Tests – 13 wickets), Naseem has been chosen by Wasim and Shoaib as a future star.
Naseem, the youngest to record a Test hat-trick taker, thanked Shoaib for choosing him as his bowling partner and is thrilled by the legendary bowler’s confidence in his abilities.
Naseem Shah said: “Delighted to get Shoaib Akhtar’s recognition following acknowledgment by Wasim Akram. I want to thank Shoaib for nominating me as his bowling partner, these bowlers were my idols and getting recognised by them is nothing short of a big honour for me.
“I agree that attitude and aggression are the keys to success for a fast bowler, I hope that I would live up to Shoaib’s expectations of me.”
Pakistan’s Test fast bowling mainstay Mohammad Abbas named Wasim and Hasan Ali as his former and current partners, like Naseem, Hasan also does not meet the 75 wickets criteria but has been picked as a future star by his Test bowling partner Abbas.
Mohammad Abbas said: “It is a great initiative by PCB; it isn’t easy to choose a pair considering the abundance of fast bowling stars. However since we have to choose one I name Wasim Akram as my bowling partner among former stars and Hasan Ali as my pair from the current lot.”
The aim of the activity is to acknowledge the services of former and present stars of Pakistan cricket. Before fast bowlers, the campaign for openers and middle-order batting pairs received tremendous response.
Among openers, the 90s batting greats Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail (qualification minimum 1,000 runs as opener) came out as the most popular pair.
The famed left-handed pair was followed by Saeed Anwar’s paring with Majid Khan, regarded as one of the most stylish and productive openers produced by Pakistan.
Among middle-order batsmen (qualification minimum 2,500 runs in middle-order, batting positions three to seven) the famed middle-order batting duo of Pakistan highest Test run-getter Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf emerged as the most popular pair followed by Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf, a pair that remained the backbone of Pakistan Test batting in recent history.
The two-day long fast bowlers’ campaign will be followed by dream pairs of spinners, all-rounders and most popular wicketkeeper and captain.