KARACHI: In absence of injured Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan will join senior teammate Umar Gul as the linchpin of Pakistan’s pace attack in the upcoming Asia Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
This is not the first time that the onus of bowling attack is on the 24-year old southpaw who made his debut a mere three years ago.
Junaid continued to lead the bowling attack for the best part of 2013 owing to a prolonged knee injury to Umar Gul and fragility of lanky Irfan – with success.
He snared an impressive tally of 52 wickets from 28 One Day International outings last year besides making vital contribution in Tests.
Despite a stiff challenge for fast bowlers in the UAE, the young pacer was impressive in the last home series against Sri Lanka, finishing as the top wicket-taking bowler in Test (14 wickets from three matches) and ODI (13 from five matches) series.
Junaid stated that he finds the burden on him a real challenge.
“It’s important to have good companions around but even in their absence I did not feel under pressure,” the fast bowler told The Express Tribune.
“Performing with some success without bowlers like [Umar] Gul and Irfan has added to my confidence. I think that has also helped me in my progress.”
The fast bowler praised bowling coach Mohammad Akram for helping him out in tough tasks.
“I got assistance from various legends like Wasim Akram. I have especial respect for [Mohammad] Akram also; he has been a great assistance for me. Credit must be given to him for my progress. I am happy that the PCB has extended his contract [by two years].”
‘Bangladesh conditions challenging for fast bowlers’
Junaid who featured for his regional team Abbottabad in the recently-concluded Faisal Bank T-20 Cup said he was ready for the Asia Cup and World Twenty20.
“PCB took a very good step by organising the T20 event before these crucial tournaments.
“It has helped us all in preparing for these assignments,” said the fast bowler before terming Bangladesh conditions challenging for the fast bowlers.
“The conditions there are more suitable for the spinners and the fast bowlers have to be accurate with their line and length. Apart from that, I’ll be looking to get reverse swing there.”
Junaid hoped he along with Gul can dismantle the upper order of opposing teams.
“Our target will be to get quick wickets and I am optimistic about that since Gul was outstanding in the recent T20 Cup.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ