May 17, 2012

Former Pakistan pacer and Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach Wasim Akram feels his game would have perfectly suited for the shortest format of the game.

“I missed on playing Twenty20 cricket; I only played two games for Hampshire in 2003 when the format was just introduced. I believe this format would have suited my game – my bowling and batting,” said Akram.

Akram also emphasised on wicket-taking ability of the bowler as an important aspect in T20. “If I have wicket-taking bowlers, I’ll pick all of them because that’s how you win games in T20. It is an entertaining format, but it kills the bowlers, especially on the subcontinent tracks. According to me, in T20, getting wickets is the key. Generally, the batting teams look to get to 100-110 in 15 overs with wickets in hand, and then, have a go in the last five overs,” said the former pacer.

The Kolkata bowling coach was very impressed with South African speedster Dale Steyn and felt Brett Lee too can join him at the top.

“I like Dale Steyn. He runs in hard every ball and varies his pace. He’s got the yorkers, the bouncers, and swing – everything a fast bowler should have. Even Brett Lee runs in, but he’s a bit expensive on the Indian tracks because he relies too heavily on pace. He doesn’t have as many variations as Steyn does, but he’s learning. He’s a quick learner,” said a delighted Akram.

With the advent of T20 format, lot of bowlers have adapted themselves to the shortest format of the game, however all the debates and discussions highlight towards the dipping quality of fast bowlers and spinners aiming to excel in Test matches. Akram pointed out that picking wickets in T20 and Test matches is a different ball game altogether.

“In T20, the bowlers bowl a lot of slower balls. These bowlers are T20 specialists and might not get wickets in the longer formats where you need to swing the ball, you need good pace. In T20, all you need to do is keep varying the pace. These are the guys who know their limitations and bowl within them. They’re not sharp and quick, and they don’t try to bowl quick. They concentrate on their strength, which is variation, and that’s the key to their IPL success,” he said.

Akram further added that just possessing good bowling skills is not enough unless the bowler is clever enough to judge the batsmen’s intent.

“More than pace, swing, talent, everything, it’s the mind that matters. It all depends on how intelligently you bowl. Sitting in the dugout, I can tell when the batsman is going to go after the bowler. At times, I wish I had a microphone through which I could tell my bowlers what to bowl next. In T20, if you bowl two dot balls in a row, you can be 100 percent sure the batsman will go after you, either over the fine-leg, or if it’s in the slot, he’ll hit it straight,’ Akram was quoted as saying the official website of Indian Premier League.

Sparkling performance of some of the star players in IPL has constantly brought up discussions about, how the veteran cricketers of the ‘80s and ’90s would deal with this game. According to Akram, former Australian fast bowler Malcom Marshall and lanky West Indian express Joel Garner would have savoured playing in this format of the game.

“I’d have loved to see Joel Garner and Malcom Marshall. For me, Marshall was the best bowler ever in the history of the game. I rate bowlers who get wickets in subcontinent and Marshal got wickets everywhere in the world. He was a very clever bowler and what separated him from the others was that he picked the weakness of the batsman in a split second. These qualities would’ve made him interesting to watch in this format,” he said

Akram has picked more than 900 international wickets and is regarded as one of the best left-arm pacers in World cricket. He’s one of the few Pakistani players who have garnered huge fan following in India. The pacer visits India frequently for various bowling camps across the country.

IPL 2012 is Akram’s third stint with the tournament having joined the Kolkata Knight Riders as bowling coach in 2010. Since then he has been instrumental in the progress of many fast bowlers not only from the Knight Riders but from other team’s as well.

Courtesy: CRICKETCOUNTRY.COM



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *