Waqar Younis: Amir, Wahab quitting red-ball cricket unfortunate

The “easy money” on offer in T20 leagues around the world has at times made cricketers compromise on national priorities, says Waqar.

In this picture taken on June 24, 2015, Pakistan’s then head coach Waqar Younis (left) talks to Wahab Riaz during a practice session ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Wahab retired from Test cricket last year.   -  AP

The “easy money” on offer in T20 leagues around the world has at times made cricketers compromise on national priorities, Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has said.

The decision of Mohammed Amir and Wahab Riaz to quit red-ball cricket last year was one such instance, Waqar pointed out, where their personal goals ended up adversely affecting the national team.

Aamir’s decision to quit at an age of 27 caused quite a stir.

“These leagues offer easy money for players who can remain in comfort as they have to bowl just four overs. But at times, while thinking about their comfort zone players don’t think how much damage they can do to national interest. They don’t think about the broader picture,” Waqar said in a conference call with journalists.

Waqar also criticised Amir and Wahab for the way they announced their decision. “If you are sitting on social media and announcing your decision, it really hurts. They should have informed their management or board first. They should have discussed it first. It is unfortunate they did this; because of this we had to suffer a bit,” he said.

‘No grudge’

“But I wouldn’t say we are lost or anything. If they have taken their decisions, fine. But we have no grudge against them. I still think they both have cricket left in them. They should carry on playing white-ball cricket if they are selected for Pakistan. [But] yes, they did leave the team in a difficult situation at that time,” he added.

He noted that Misbah-ul-Haq, the head coach and chief selector, had spoken about having a policy where the board and management would be aware of players wanting to quit Test cricket. “I think there should be a policy based on which players quit Test cricket but we can’t put any restrictions even by law. Players should take decisions by coordinating with the board because it hurts the team,” he said.

Waqar did not believe there was any communication gap between players and the board.

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He also spoke about Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali not being able to play for Pakistan since the last World Cup and said injuries had hurt him.

‘An asset’

Pakistan’s former bowling coach Azhar Mahmood had claimed Hasan’s injury was prolonged and affected his fitness because he was made to lift heavy weights in the gym. Waqar said this was the first time he had heard about this.

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“I don’t know how Azhar knows this while sitting in England but what I know is that injuries hurt him. Look, fast bowlers will also have fitness issues. It is difficult that a fast bowler will never get injured. One has to be tough and smart as a fast bowler to have a long career. But Hasan is an asset to Pakistan cricket and he is very aggressive and we need him as he is a fine cricketer. Hopefully, he will be back soon,” he said.

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