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We are not consistent with ball, not building bowling partnerships: Pakistan bowling coach Morkel

Bengaluru: At the moment, Pakistan’s World Cup campaign is stuck against a huge boulder primarily because of their bowlers’ inability to fire as a unit, the latest setback being a 62-run defeat against Australia here.

It was their second successive defeat in the tournament after a seven-wicket battering by India.

Shaheen Shah Afridi looked to have regained his touch with a five-wicket haul, but Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali were taken apart by David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.

Alarmingly, the Pakistan bowlers did not look to have a Plan B when riding on a rough sea, and their bowling coach Morne Morkel admitted to his side not building a bowling partnership.

“The last couple of games, that is one of our talking points, to string partnerships together. I think in India that is the key, create pressure from both ends, keep the stumps in play, and at the moment, we’re not doing that.”

“We are not consistent with the ball. If you are going to lift that trophy on the 19th then we need to create consistency from both the ends,” said Morkel after the match.

The former South African pacer said the team missed the presence of injured pacer Naseem Shah and his new ball alliance with Afridi in this tournament.

“Naseem is a quality bowler if you look at his stats, the consistency he gave us with the new ball upfront was amazing. The partnership he formed with Shaheen was… this we always talked about bowling partnerships. Naseem is a big loss,” he said.

However, Morkel said Rauf and Ali were trying to learn and adjust to the demands of bowling in powerplays in ODIs, a role the pacers are not accustomed to.

“It’s slightly new role for Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf bowling with the new ball in powerplays. These guys used to bowl sort of outside the powerplay. But I think, with the opportunity we’ve given them they are standing up to the occasion.

“It is quite tough with a new ball in India. The margins are small. So, they are learning and trying their heart out,” he said.

Morkel said the way forward for Rauf in ODIs was to increase his situational awareness and adding new tricks to his repertoire.

“He is still one of the go-to guys, one of the X-factors. He can look at gaming awareness and may be mixing your pace a little bit more. But he’s a guy who always gives 100%. I can’t fault him for anything,” he added.

However, Morkel saw one bright omen in the re-emergence of left-arm pacer Afridi during the match against the Aussies.

“We had honest conversations. We sort of unpacked the opening spells of the World Cup so far, and looked at areas where we can look to attack and be smart. Perhaps, he was trying too hard. Tonight, he ran in and hit those hard lines, changed his game strategy and mixed his pace up.”

“He put up a performance like that on a tough bowling day against a team that is very aggressive, and it is a pleasing thing for me,” said Morkel.

(Published 21 October 2023, 10:59 IST)

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