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Saturday, July 2, 2011


Is Pakistan cricket losing its strength in fast bowling? – Spinners dominating attack

It wasn’t long ago when the fans in Pakistan saw their quick bowlers blowing away the opposition with their express pace and unplayable swing. The Pakistan cricket team had some tear away fast bowlers, who were a big threat to the batsmen. However, it seems that the era of the panthers has ended, as spin has taken over the attack in the recent past.
Pakistan have been relying on their spinners more than the pacers in the recent matches. They had four spinners in their ICC World Cup 2011 squad and usually one of them opened the attack with the new ball during the tournament.
The team did have some express bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz, but spinners were given more importance.
The team then toured West Indies after the Mega Event and off-spinner, Mohammad Hafeez, opened the attack on the first day of a Test match, which clearly shows the dominance of spin bowlers in the Pakistan team.
Does this signal the end of fast bowling trend in Pakistan? The answer to that can only be found with the passage of time, but at the moment things look grim for the fast bowlers in Pakistan.
Youngsters in Pakistan follow cricketers like superstars of Hollywood. They want to be like their heroes in the future. This is how the fastest bowler in cricket history, Shoaib Akhtar grew up, watching former Pakistan captain, Waqar Younis, terrorising the opposition.
Shoaib was impressed to see Waqar taking a long run-up and bowling consistently above 90 miles per hour. The Rawalpindi express not only fulfilled his dream of becoming a tear away fast bowler, he also had the opportunity to play alongside his hero in the same team.
Waqar is also currently coaching the national side and the fans will look up to him for grooming young fast bowlers in the country. He has not only inspired youngsters in Pakistan, but from other countries as well.
Sri Lanka’s pace ace, Lasith Malinga, recently revealed in an interview during the World Cup, that he learned the art of bowling quick yorkers watching Wasim Akram and Waqar.
This was an honour for the two legendary pace bowlers, who had dominated most part of the nineties, but they would love to see some express bowlers making their way to the Pakistan team.
The Men in Green had found an extraordinary talent in Mohammad Amir, who impressed one and all with his brilliant pace bowling at a very young age. He was being compared to the legendary, Wasim, but his career came to a halt due to a shocking controversy.
The youngster was found guilty of spot-fixing in a match against England and was banned from all forms of cricket for five years. This was a big blow for the Pakistan team, especially with the incident taking place just ahead of the Mega Event.
Apart from that, Shoaib also announced his retirement from international cricket during the World Cup, which left Pakistan with limited choices in the fast bowling department.
At the moment, the Pakistan’s attack is led by spinners, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez. If the trend continues, the youngsters will lose interest in fast bowling and the nation will not be able to produce lethal pacers.
Proper planning needs to be done to keep the young generation interested in fast bowling. Pakistan has been known for having an exceptional pool of talent in the fast bowling department, but a lot of work is required to be done at the basic level to continue the legendary trend.
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