Ben Stokes’ absence is an opportunity for Pakistan to ‘cash in’, says Waqar Younis

Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis admits his side will be looking to “cash in” on Ben Stokes’ absence from the England side this week.

Stokes will be heading to New Zealand for family reasons and will miss the remainder of the series.

Speaking about the all-rounder’s absence, Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis said, “If he’s not around England will probably be a touch light in their middle order, so we’re going to talk about that and try to cash in.”

“He’s the kind of batsman who takes the game away from you – single-handedly at times. But the way we bowled at him in the previous game showed we had very clear plans and executed really well.”

That robs England of their most destructive batsman, a useful bowling option and a dressing-room leader, leaving his likely replacement – Zak Crawley – with some sizeable boots to fill.

Pakistan’s pace attack of Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah generated plenty of excitement last time out, with each one bringing a different set of skills to beat.

The role of 17-year-old Naseem is to bring 90mph pace and the fearlessness of youth. Waqar, who also broke through as a teenager before honing his craft over the years, believes his charge is still at the start of his learning curve and has plenty more to give.