Fast bowling is becoming integral part of Indian cricket: Wasim Akram

NEW DELHI: Having mentored many pacers in India, Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram feels fast bowling is becoming an integral part of Indian cricket with youngsters finding their heroes in the likes of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav.
Appointed as the bowling consultant of Kolkata Knight Riders in 2010, Akram coached many Indian pacers like Ashoke Dinda, Ishant Sharma and more recently Yadav to help them find their footing in international cricket.
The former Pakistan captain said that fast bowling is gaining ground in India but cautioned that youngsters need to be told that pace bowling is not about just one spell. “It (fast bowling gaining ground) is because of the popularity of the game. The passion that the people of this country have for this game is amazing. Nearly 70,000 people turning up for an IPL game is just incredible. And also these young players have got heroes of their own in Shami, Umesh and Varun Aaron,” Akram said in an interview.
“So fast bowling is coming into Indian cricket but these youngsters have to be told that pace bowling is not about just one spell. You have to think about how you can bowl fast for the next 10 years,” the former left-armer said. Asked about his useful tips to bowlers like Yadav that have transformed them, Akram said these bowlers do not need coaching but need to be told when to execute the right kind of swing.
“At the level that Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are, they need not be coached. You don’t need to tell them the action or the basics. You have to tell them when to execute the right kind of swing and how to read a particular batsman,” the 48-year-old said.
“How you bowl according to a situation? I tell them to ask me a question. I work with them in the nets. I had told Umesh that you have to eventually learn to take the new ball away from the left-hander in flat wickets. And you all would have seen in the World Cup that he really got the new ball going away from the left-hander, the one that always came in,” Akram said.
Akram, who was a brilliant exponent of swing bowling and terrorised many batsmen in his time, explained the nitty grittys of the art saying, “When you bring the ball in on flat decks, it sometimes comes in the batsman’s arc and there you have to go across as a right hand bowler to a left-hand batsman.”
Akram said it is important to tell youngsters when to bowl a yorker, how to set the field, how to asses a situation and that is what he tries to do. “I try and make them think,” he added. Lavishing praise on Yadav, Akram said, “He is a very talented bowler. He has pace, swing and he is really on the right path. And what I like about him is that he is a hard-working lad.”
Talking about another Indian left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan eyeing a comeback, Akram said it is possible but the veteran needs to play regular cricket. “Look 36 is not an age where you get old as a bowler. If you have been playing first-class cricket then a comeback is easy, but if you are playing IPL to IPL then it becomes difficult for a pacer. And after 35 you have to play regular cricket,” Akram said.
“When I was 35, if I took a month off then it took me a couple more to make a comeback. So if he is playing first-class cricket there should not be a problem in making a comeback with his experience,” he said.

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