Dubai: Wasim Akram, former Pakistan captain and a wizard with the cricket ball, did not pull back any punches when he said T20 cricket does not make good bowlers and there is no option for a budding pacer but to play more first class matches to hone his skills.
“T20 cricket does not make bowlers. Back when we used to play, it was six months playing for the national team and another six months for the county team. Youngsters need to play more first-class cricket to learn bowling,” Akram said on a YouTube channel.
“T20 is amazing, good entertainment, there’s plenty of money involved and I’m all in for the importance of money in a sport and the players. But I don’t judge bowlers on the basis of their T20 performance. I do so on the basis of seeing how they fare in the longer format,” said Akram, who is much sought after to teach the tricks of the trade in franchise leagues all over the world.
Taking a trip down memory lane on the hours of hard work he spent behind his craft, Akram said: ‘‘When I went on first tour (to New Zealand) and got 10 wickets, I realised how amazing it was - playing with your idols, for the country, getting paid and I thought this should go on for 20 years.”
Akram revealed how he fine-tuned his skills during the practice sessions to make life difficult for batsmen. “Very few left-arm pacers used to bowl round the wicket when I started. As a youngster, I thought if I bowl from this side, a different angle will be generated and batsmen will find it tough.
“Those were the things I learned on my own. I picked up the old ball in the nets and tried out things like hiding myself behind the umpire during my run-up. The point is to create doubt in the mind of batsmen and that’s what I wanted to do,” Akram said.
The 53-year-old expressed dismay at modern-day fast bowlers not doing enough to set up a dismissal. “I see so many fast bowlers these days, running in the entire day, bowling with the same run-up, same pace, without variations. That won’t make a batsman think. You have to keep them guessing what coming up next. There are so many little things that a bowler can do to trouble a batsman,” the Sultan of Swing added.