ISLAMABAD (AP) — After going seven months without seeing his family while living in a bio-secure bubble and travelling the world as Pakistan’s bowling coach, Waqar Younis is finally getting to spend some time at home.
The 49-year-old Waqar has been kept busy, touring England before his team went on to host Zimbabwe and then visited New Zealand for another series of matches.
Pakistan played two tests in New Zealand but the former fast-bowling great was allowed to return home after his side lost the first game by 101 runs, in order to spend some time with his loved ones ahead of this month’s home series against South Africa.
“I didn’t see my family for the last seven months and got permission from the cricket board to spend time with my family,” Waqar told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday.
“Cricket is not the end of the world. There are also other things in life which are important.”
Pakistan lost the recent test series to New Zealand 2-0 and the Twenty20 encounter 2-1, and Waqar said it was especially tough for the players to go through 14 days of quarantine which limited them to their hotel rooms.
“Medically it’s proven that if you are closed in a room for one day, you have wastage of two days’ muscle,” Waqar said. “They are top athletes, they needed to be trained every day so these issues were also there, because of which we couldn’t win.”
Waqar and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq were summoned by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday to explain the team’s results, but both men will be given another chance in the home series against South Africa before their performance is re-evaluated.
Pakistan lost the test series in England 1-0 before tying the Twenty20 encounter 1-1. It then beat Zimbabwe in both the ODI and T20 series.
“It’s a performance-based (job) whether you do coaching or play international cricket,” Waqar said.
“If you give good results, you will keep getting opportunities.”
Pakistan’s fast bowlers struggled in the tests against New Zealand, losing both matches by heavy margins, with young pacemen Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi unable to generate the same speeds as New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner.
But Waqar says taking 20 wickets in a test is more important to him than relying on the pace of a fast bowler.
“Pace is important, and I understand that if you have it, it’s good, but for me how to get 20 wickets is more important,” he explained.
“If he is bowling at 140kph and not getting wickets, it’s useless, but if he is bowling at 120kph and taking wickets, it’s good to me.
“We also had issues of no-balls and dropped catches. We didn’t perform the way we would have wanted.”
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