KARACHI              -           Pakistan's head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has criticised fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz for the timing of their retirements from Test cricket. He revealed that the PCB was mulling a policy to ensure that players remain available to play for Pakistan across formats.

Amir gave up Tests in July, in order to manage his workload and extend his white-ball career, for Pakistan as well as in T20 leagues around the world. Wahab followed suit in September, taking an "indefinite break" from red-ball cricket, including the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's domestic first-class tournament. While Wahab was 34 when he made his decision, Amir was only 27.

The loss of the two experienced left-arm quicks has left Pakistan in a situation where they have been forced to rebuild their pace attack with young and inexperienced options including three teenagers in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Muhammad Musa.

"We are thinking deeply on these lines, and we will make a policy on this very soon," Misbah said, referring to the loss of experienced Amir and Wahab from Pakistan's pace stocks. "Going forward this might become a problem for Pakistan, because when you invest so much in the players, on their development, and expect them to give back, they leave the game and it's not the right way to go about it. Your resources are consumed for their development and we need a certain policy to make sure players should be available for Pakistan first."

It has not been the smoothest start to Misbah's time as coach-cum-selector, but he identified a few positives to have emerged nonetheless. "The biggest plus for us is Babar Azam and our batting, the way we responded in Australia overall," Misbah said. "His hundred in Rawalpindi and his overall shift from white-ball cricket to red is an important positive for Pakistan at this stage. And at the same time we've got a younger bowling attack. The way Shaheen and Naseem are bowling, consistently hitting 140-plus [kph] in good areas. They have ample time in their careers to develop into match-winners. They have played very little cricket so far, but will improve with every passing day."


Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur would like his bowlers to contain the Pakistan batsmen a little better in the second Test in Karachi."It doesn't surprise me how well Babar and Abid did, and we needed to bowl well at them. The thing we've been talking about is controlling a run rate a little bit more," Arthur said. "I feel they scored a little bit too quick. It was a day-two wicket so there was nothing in it. Building some pressure is the way to create opportunities."

"Lahiru Kumara bowls 150kph, he runs in, he's strong, and he's athletic," Arthur said ahead of the Karachi Test. "And I've always looked at Kusal Mendis and watched him play and just seen what a good player he is. If we can get him doing things consistently, these guys are going to be very good players. "We've got to give them the environment so they can grow. I always use the phrase we give them the roots to grow and the wings to fly. The roots is their technique - it's their base and their reference point. The "wings to fly" is them playing within their own characters. They've all got that skill and that talent."

"I'm still getting to know the guys. I'm still looking to find out how they play. I'm looking at each guy in their role, just to see how they go about their stuff. I'm just hoping we can go from strength to strength and reel Australia and India back in, so we can put ourselves in the reckoning for that ICC World Test Championship final," Arthur concluded.