Shaheen’s performance in the World Cup has raised concerns, as his pace and fitness appear to be in question. In the three games he has played, he has struggled, managing only four wickets at the expense of 139 runs.
Waqar Younis, currently in India as a commentator, shared his observations, saying, “I don’t know if there is a problem with his fitness.” He pointed out that Shaheen’s bowling lacks discipline, as he seems to be exerting excessive effort to secure wickets. Waqar noted that Shaheen’s repeated attempts at perfecting his yorker make his strategy predictable, allowing batsmen to prepare accordingly.
Waqar advised Shaheen to take a cue from the performance of Indian bowler Jasprit Bumrah, whom he praised as a “top bowler.” Bumrah is among the leading wicket-takers in the World Cup, having claimed eight wickets at an impressive average of 11.52.
During India’s victory over Pakistan, Bumrah’s well-executed deliveries dismissed Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan, contributing to Pakistan’s defeat. Waqar highlighted Bumrah’s ability to create pressure with precise line and length, leading to wickets.
Shaheen, who at 23 has been entrusted with leading Pakistan’s new-ball attack, gained recognition for his 16 wickets in five World Cup matches four years ago. He has drawn comparisons to the legendary Wasim Akram, known for his left-arm pace bowling.
However, former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri criticized this comparison during the Pakistan-India match, asserting that Shaheen is not on par with the iconic Wasim Akram and does not possess a “special” quality.
Waqar suggested that the absence of Shaheen’s regular new-ball partner, Naseem Shah, who was sidelined due to a shoulder injury, might be impacting Shaheen’s performance. Naseem is recognized for his ability to create pressure and minimize runs conceded, which, in turn, compels batsmen to take risks with other bowlers, ultimately leading to wickets.
Waqar emphasized that Pakistan’s bowling in the World Cup is “lacking discipline.” Despite securing two wins and suffering one loss in their three games, he believes the root issue lies in the failure to maintain a simple, straightforward approach to bowling.
Pakistan is slated to face Australia in Bengaluru on Friday after recording victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, with a loss to India in their recent matches.