KARACHI: Former chief selector Salahuddin Sallu refrained from heaping out-and-out praise on Mohammad Amir despite the pacer completing a five-wicket haul — his first such feat following his return to international cricket — on day two of the first Test against West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Saturday.
Amir’s quintet of wickets reduced the host to 278 for 9 before rain put an early end to a wet, miserable day of cricket, which saw only 11.3 overs of action.
A day after rattling the hosts' top order with three wickets, Amir added two more quickfire scalps to his tally.
However, Sallu still remains unimpressed since in his opinion, the wickets were more a personal gain rather than a contribution to the team's cause.
"Amir did well bagging five wickets for himself but they were of little advantage for the team," said the 70-year-old Sallu, who feels Amir and his peers took their foot off the gas and became lethargic after dismantling the West Indian top order.
"The team had a very good start, with even new bowler Muhammad Abbas wasting little time in opening his account. However, once the hard work was done and the West Indies were reeling at 71-5, the bowlers were unable to keep the same pressure on the tail-enders and allowed them to score runs easily. This was pure failure of our bowlers."
Amir, under pressure before the series due to his inconsistent form, repaid the selectors' faith with his quintet of wickets, and Sallu feels such a timely performance would go a long way in bringing him back in coach Mickey Arthur's good books, even if his performance doesn't necessarily help the team in the match.
"Amir took the last two wickets but they were more useful for him than the team. His strikes came in so late that the West Indies had already put together a decent total by then and were out of the woods," he said
While Amir pulled more than his weight, his peers didn't capitalise on it, much to Sallu's chagrin.
“The West Indians are weak against spinners so it's baffling how we couldn't trouble them with our spin options. Their batsmen did play better than our bowlers, but that is because of our spinners were missing in action.” he said.
With half their batting line-up back in the pavilion at a paltry score of 71, the West Indian pair of Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich held the crease and both scored half centuries before captain Jason Holder, helped by Devendra Bishoo, did the same.
While Sallu feels that Pakistan may have underestimated the resolve of the lower order West Indies batsmen, he warned not to make the same mistake with the hosts' bowling.
“Although we have a decent batting line-up, we should remember that we failed in the tour match, so we have to stay focused,” he said.
“Their main weapon will be their spinner Devendara Bishoo who can take wickets on this pitch. Pakistan will have to keep their focus, especially the openers who should try and build a strong platform so that the rest can score without any pressure,” he added.
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