Wasim Akram feels Indian pacers are not receiving proper guidance
Legendary Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram has cited the interference of too many coaches as the reason behind India’s fast bowling woes. Speaking to Times of India, the 49-year old was candid on several issues ranging from Mohammad Shami‘s lengthy lay-off to the importance of county cricket in a player’s career.
The ‘Sultan of Swing’ advised the BCCI to take care of the Indian seamers by monitoring their progress closely. Akram quipped, “The primary reason is that India has failed to guard its bowlers. First of all, there are just too many people that a bowler is talking to.
“The BCCI has to be very strict about it and clearly tell the bowlers that they can only go to a certain academy or a BCCI-appointed coach and over there they should interact only with specified coaches with regards to their bowling.”
Citing the example of Irfan Pathan failing to kick-start on a promising beginning, Wasim said,“The more you start taking advice from multiple people, the more likely you are to enter a state of confusion. I strongly feel that's exactly what happened with Irfan Pathan. the last six or seven years there've been so many Indian bowlers who, when they arrive at the international stage, bowl at 140-145 kmph and in a year or two, the pace just dips.”
When asked about Mohammad Shami’s recurring troubles with his hamstring, the legendary fast bowler said, “When I came to know that Shami was making a comeback for the tour of Australia last month, I told one of my co-commentators, I think it was Harsha, 'You wait and watch, this guy will probably pull his hamstring'.
“That's because the pressure of bowling in a practice game or in the nets or in a domestic game is different and the pressure of bowling in an international match is different. You need to properly play a full season of first-class cricket after a knee injury before international cricket.”
India are clear favourites against Pakistan: Akram
On the much-anticipated match-up between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup, Wasim who also captained Pakistan with great success believed, “That'll be a good game to look forward to and given the way India are playing right now, they're clear favourites. The Asia Cup, this year, assumes a lot of significance particularly because of the Twenty20 format that it'll be played in. It was a very sensible decision on part of the Asian Cricket Council.”
Heaping praise on Zaheer Khan’s contribution to Indian cricket, Akram who has taken a staggering 916 combined international wickets asserted, “Zaheer Khan was the last Indian bowler who managed to create this balance. He became a very intelligent bowler over a period of time.
“He tried different things. He got a good hang of the reverse swing. He would hide the shining side of the ball, like I did, when he ran in to bowl. Nobody told Zaheer all this. He learnt this by himself.“
He also spoke of county cricket’s effect on his game and wanted Indian players to experience the same. Akram hoped, “It's okay if the Indian players can't play Twenty20 in England. But missing out on the county experience is a pity. I played a full 10 years for Lancashire.
“My stint at Lancashire allowed me to adapt to various things as a bowler which I couldn't have learnt playing first-class cricket in Pakistan.”