October 20, 2014

Dubai: Cricketers in the UAE can get to learn the art of playing Twenty20 cricket from two masters of the game — legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram and all-rounder Azhar Mahmoud.

Akram and Mahmoud will pass on their knowledge to the cricketers here through a T20-specific camp to be run by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Academy from October 24 to November 1.

“To have someone of Wasim’s standing in the game, and someone so closely connected with Twenty20 cricket joining us, is a huge bonus and I am sure those players who are lucky enough to interact with him will be hanging on his every word,” Mahmoud said on Sunday.

Akram played a pivotal role in Pakistan lifting the World Cup in 1992, when the event was last held in Australia and New Zealand, is now a consultant and mentor to Indian Premier League champions the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Akram is looking forward to taking part in the camp, which is open to juniors, adults and corporates. “T20 is undoubtedly the most exciting format in cricket and I am looking forward to passing on my experience. The ICC Academy is probably the best facility in world cricket and, coupled with Azhar’s expertise, I think the players coming to the camp are in for a real treat,” he said.

Mahmoud, answering a query from Gulf News on how different this camp will be from others, Mahmoud said: “Our camp will give them an environment like the way I trained and developed my skills.

“In batting, we will teach them the paddle sweep, reverse sweep and hitting over the ropes. And bowling-wise we will teach different kinds of slower balls. I bowl six types of slower ball and I will teach them each and every thing in the trade so they can go and practice these skills.”
Mahmoud said the first camp will be for five days and will not be a one-off. “I had a meeting with the ICC and we will stage three to four camps in a year. We will give a game plan and, after three months, we will come back and do another,” he said.

Mahmoud and Akram will be joined by a team of expert coaches from the ICC Academy, which includes Head of Development and former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar Nazar. ICC Academy Manager Will Kitchen said: “All the facilities including the various types of pitches will be made available for this camp. It will be a huge honour to have Akram with us during the camp and he will add to what is already a top-class line-up of coaches.”

Courtesy: GULF NEWS

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