Dumped, not just as captain but as a player, after Pakistan’s first-round exit from the World Cup. One of the world’s finest fast bowlers of the last fifteen years, Waqar Younis has come to Sydney to ply his wares over the 2003-04 summer.
Officially 32 years of age, maybe 36, maybe somehere in between, the veteran of 87 Tests and 262 one-day internationals with almost 800 wickets for Pakistan in both forms of the game put together, Waqar is currently rolling the arm over for the North Sydney Bears in the Sydney Cricket Association first grade. North Sydney was the home, at one time or another, of such Australian greats as Don Bradman, Bill O’Reilly, Sid Barnes, and currently the home club of Stuart MacGill.
If Waqar was hoping for a resurgence of form on the pitches of suburban Sydney, it hasn’t happened yet. These are his performances to date for North Sydney in the First Grade competition:
Oct 11-18 versus University of New South Wales: 2/58 and 1/42.
Oct 12: versus Eastern Suburbs: 0/46.
Oct 25-Nov 1: versus Sutherland: 3/49.
Nov 15-22: versus Parramatta: 4/33.
Nov 29-Dec 6: versus Blacktown: 0/22 (match unfinished).
Ten wickets at 25.00, by grade standards that’s a modest return for an international cricketer. We’ll watch this space, but it may need more than one of the regular political shifts in Pakistani cricket before we see Waqar Younis bowl for his country again.