Shoaib Akhtar’s suggestion for India rising pace sensation Mohammed Shami is to “work on his run-up” as he feels the talented speedster “has the potential to serve Indian cricket for a long, long time”.
“Whatever I have seen, Mohammed Shami is the best fast bowler that India has at the moment. He is talented and should be nurtured with a lot of care. But I think he has one basic technical flaw in his bowling. His run-up to the crease is not very smooth and he needs to work on that aspect in order to get better in the coming days,” Akhtar told PTI.
Asked to elaborate on what he meant about run-up problem, Akhtar said, “I think his run-up is not a measured and consistent one. It looks at times that he is labouring to the crease. That should not be the case. They should have a smooth action because that will help to generate a lot of pace on a consistent basis. Shami, I believe will serve Indian cricket for a long time, if he can work on that aspect.”
Someone, who never believed in cutting down on pace despite several injuries during his more than a decade long career, Akhtar has one advice for the budding pacers.
“Do everything required but never cut down on pace. Look, pace is the key for any fast bowler. I am not saying that you shouldn’t concentrate on maintaining a good line and length but you can always work around those areas keeping the pace intact,” Akhtar reasoned.
The 38-year-old, who has played 46 Tests and 163 ODIs for Pakistan in a career spanning over 13 years, feels strongly that fast bowlers should abstain from playing T20 cricket in order to keep that “fear-factor” in the batsmen.
“I know it’s a difficult ask but I feel that fast bowlers should stop playing T20 cricket. Having said that, I am not for once saying that they are incapable of playing the format, look at the pitches and playing conditions. It’s heavily loaded in favour of batsmen,” Akhtar said.
“T20 cricket has done one thing. T20 has completely diminished the fear about tearaway quicks, that used to be earlier there in the minds of the batsmen. The finest bowlers can be belted over their heads by batsmen who are just hitting through the line.”
“Once the fear factor is gone, the batsmen also do not have any apprehension about the fast bowlers even when they
are facing them in Test and ODI cricket. If you want to preserve good fast bowlers for the longer version, which is
still sacrosanct, then you need to do away with quicks in shorter format. Otherwise, make some rules for the fast bowlers to survive. Authorities should think about them and not only about batsmen,” added the fearsome bowler of
Asked what kind of more variations can a fast bowler bring in his game in order to survive the rigours of T20 cricket, Akhtar said: