Pakistan’s bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmed, has said that the pressure of expectations took a toll on Yasir Shah on the opening day of the second Test against England at Old Trafford.
Shah played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s 75 runs victory over England in the first Test by taking 10 wickets in the match at Lord’s. However, the leg-spinner failed to replicate that form and remained wicketless on the first day.
“Sometimes the expectation does put you under pressure and you are trying to deliver the same performance,” Mushtaq said. “You start losing your basics, discipline and what he did in the last Test match. He got 10 wickets last time and maybe that momentum carried on and he forgot the basics.”
“I think the ball wasn’t coming nicely from his hand,” he added. “We did discuss it, but during a game, it’s very hard for a coach to tell a player what to do. But we have good communication so I sent a couple of messages because the ball was coming out flatter with less spin. On a first-day pitch, the margin of error for a legspinner against good players like Root and Cook is very small.”
However, the bowling coach backed Yasir to respond positively from his tough day and play an important role once again on a surface that English skipper Alastair Cook expects to break up later on.
“I always believe as a good bowler you have to bowl good overs against good players to get them out. He didn’t do that today but he will come out tomorrow, he’s a strong guy, he wasn’t hiding and that’s a positive thing,” Mushtaq said.
Meanwhile, English batsmen Joe Root, who is unbeaten on 141, was pleased by the improvement shown by the batsmen. Some English batsmen including Root were criticised for throwing away their wickets by playing rash shots during the first Test.
“It was just nice to see an improvement on the way we played him in the first game,” Root said. “Playing him with a straight bat, not going across the ball as much, on a day-one wicket it definitely made it a lot easier for us to take the risk out of it but still rotate the strike and score at a decent rate. We batted at a far better tempo than at Lord’s.”