Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
Pakistan pace bowler Shaheen Afridi said on Friday he enjoyed bowling with Hasan Ali as the latter helped him put opponents under pressure in Test matches.
Afridi and Hasan have emerged as Pakistan’s new pace bowling pair in 2021, taking 83 wickets in Tests between them.
“I enjoy bowling with him. This year he has 39 wickets, I have 44. We bowl in partnership and plan between ourselves,” Afridi told reporters in Dhaka ahead of the second Test against Bangladesh, starting Saturday.
If a batsman plays well, he added, the pair plan “how we can hold or confuse him. This is why I enjoy bowling with him. He is a fighter”.
Hasan and Afridi shone in Pakistan’s eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the opening Test in Chittagong, each claiming five-fors.
Hasan finished with 5-51 in the first innings as Pakistan bowled out Bangladesh for 330 runs, while Afridi’s 5-32 in the second innings kept the target within the visitors’ reach.
“The wickets in Asia are more or less slow. People say spinners get more assistance here. But if you are physically strong and have the strength it is possible to be effective here. You need to bowl in a partnership,” Afridi added.
The hosts will be desperate to make a comeback in the second leg of the series, but Afridi promised them no let-up.
“Momentum is good and the team combination is also brilliant,” he said. “The boys are ready for the second Test. Of course, we will fight and end the series on a good note.”
Bangladesh have had some success in recent years in Dhaka’s Mirpur stadium, where they have won five of their last seven Tests, including victories against both England and Australia.
Spinners played a key role in their success but Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque said they were unlikely to follow the same strategy against Pakistan.
“Everyone from the sub-continent plays spin very well,” he said. “So it is better not to give them a spin wicket. I think everyone else would do the same. I prefer a flat wicket.”
But Bangladesh will welcome spinner Shakib Al Hasan for the match after leaving him out in the first Test due to fitness concerns.
Pace bowler Taskin Ahmed also returns after missing the opening Test due to a finger injury.
Taskin had been in fine Test form since making his comeback to the side after a four-year absence, picking up 11 wickets in three matches.