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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yes, Shoaib is an icon for pace, Confirms Ian Pont

Pune, (India), - Pakistani pacer, Shoaib Akhtar's recent claim about his bowling ("I am still lethal and have not cut down on my speed and can still bowl well over 90 miles an hour") has not surprised Ian Pont, the National Bowling Coach of the Bangladesh cricket team.
Speaking exclusively from England, where he is holidaying, Ian Pont said, "I worked with Shoaib in 2005 when I was the Technical Fast Bowling Coach to Worcestershire Academy. He came across one Sunday when I was working with the players and watched for a while. He was introduced to me and said, "you are the pace guy", which made me smile. And the first thing he asked me was, "do you think I could bowl faster".
"We had a 90 minute one-to-one session after the academy players had finished and in that time we discussed the merits of his action and how he could access more pace from his hips and legs", Pont said.
"The one thing that struck me about Shoaib is that he is incredibly knowledgeable about his own action". I have always felt that Shoaib could bowl faster with a straight front leg when he bowls, but other than that he has all the attributes required of a genuine power bowler. He has a really big 'stretch reflex' (full pull back of his bowling arm behind him like a javelin thrower), which is ideal for this type of explosive action. Bio-mechanically, he could still squeeze out some more speed though with a couple of tweaks", added Pont.
"In our session, Shoaib was able to bowl high speeds from a short run up, proving he simply exploded through his action to create pace. Over the years, Shoaib's action has become more reliant on being a powerful athlete, which is not common. He has changed during a 12 year period to being more strength based and less rhythm based so his action will naturally migrate towards a change. I think he is probably on his third reincarnation of his action - and this final one is very much requiring him to be as fit as he can", adds Pont.
"I think he is a smart fast bowler and it is testament to his skill and fitness that he is still bowling great speed at around 35 years of age. Passion for pace is what counts and he has that".
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