Karachi - Former Test cricketer and chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu on Monday praised youngsters Imad Wasim and Mohammad Rizwan for their fine show in Pakistan’s fighting victory over hosts Zimbabwe in the first of the T20 Internationals at Harare on Sunday.

Speaking to media here, Sallu said: “Both Imad and Rizwan definitely have spark and have brought a refreshing variety to the team which is such a delight to see. Imad’s bowling, I felt, put the Zimbabweans on the backfoot at crucial stages of the game and later Imran Junior’s final over did the trick.”

Sallu also lauded Shahid Afridi’s bold captaincy in the game and observed that opening the bowling with Imad was an innovative and aggressive move that brought the desired result. “Opening the bowling must have given Imad a lot of confidence which earned him four wickets in the end,” he said. “Masakadza, at one stage, was looking dangerous but Imad was not overawed by the experienced player’s antics and got his scalp off a really fine delivery.”

Commenting on Pakistan’s batting, the veteran selector said early hiccups restricted the visitors to a relatively modest total but the same was well defended in the end. “The top order players fell to rash shots and when we were three down, it was quite a situation for us. But thanks to Shoaib Malik and Rizwan who rescued the team with brisk knocks and some intelligent cricket,” Sallu said.

“I really admire the way Rizwan handles pressure situations which is a rare quality in Pakistan cricket. Also, I feel that Afridi should push himself up a bit to come at three or four in this line-up as he will get more overs to display his brand of slam-bang hitting,” he added.

“The pitch and the outfield at Harare was slow and not ideally suited for T20 cricket,” Sallu observed. “But Pakistan must remain positive and win the series 2-0 today because they have the talent and firepower to achieve it against the hosts,” Sallu concluded.