LAHORE-Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has said that the nature of pitches in England has changed, which gives them option of playing two spinners when the Test series starts in hot conditions next month.

Waqar said this during a videoconference held on Tuesday, adding that during the ongoing England-West Indies series, it was witnessed that the pitches at Southampton and Manchester are slow and sluggish. “We will see how the pitch behaves in the third England and West Indies Test at Manchester but there is no doubt that the behaviour of pitches has changed in England.

“It is early to say who will play but we have got an idea after the West Indies Test matches. We are trying to prepare those players, who can be effective on such pitches. We are looking at all options as well as the weather as it gets hot in August and we might even have to think about playing two spinners as well,” he added.

The bowling coach said he was surprised that the pacers didn’t face much problems despite not using saliva to shine the ball during the England-West Indies series. “I had doubts about what will happen to bowlers not being able to use saliva because it is a habitual thing and I have been a fast bowler myself. But I think it is working quite nicely.

The difference in cricket balls also matters. The Duke ball is harder and it can be shone through sweat as well and the pitches were slow and sluggish in the West Indies Tests but the ball did seam and move around and no bowler has complained as yet. It is workable and it did work. I feel it can be done,” he asserted.

Replying to a series of queries about Muhammad Amir, he replied: “We called Amir because he is part of our white-ball cricket plans. And if we felt this was the ideal opportunity to assess all our bowlers going forward. It is not about this series but also about future commitments including the World Cups. We want to see how he is bowling as we want to get a fair idea of which bowlers to take forward and assess them all. It hurt at that time when he decided to retire from Test cricket but we have to move on and do what is best for the country.”

He admitted that when the players came to England after spending nearly three months in isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they had been rusty. “But right now in the training camp, they are getting better and we are working hard on ensuring their fitness levels meet those standards required in world cricket,” he added.

Waqar said Pakistan’s track record in England is good and he is hopeful that the national team will not disappoint in the coming series. “I am sure we will not let our fans and followers down. We will try to make them proud of us with our performances.”

Asked if any Pakistan players matched up to Kohli’s fitness standards, the former pacer said: “Kohli is one of the top athletes but I think our boys are not far behind specially Babar Azam, who is very fit and he is also delivering with his superb performances. Shaheen Shah is another one who is super fit.”