Stop talking to pacers about slow wickets: Wasim | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:13 AM, May 21, 2020

Stop talking to pacers about slow wickets: Wasim

Anyone who has seen Wasim Akram run in and bowl from the striker's end would know that strange feeling -- a mixture of awe and fear of what is coming at them.

Wasim's passion and aggression could shake the resolve of the most experienced and established batsmen, but when the big-hearted former Pakistan captain made a cameo on Tamim Iqbal's Facebook Live chat on Tuesday night with three heroes of Bangladesh's ICC Trophy triumph in 1997, there was only the sense of warmth and love for Bangladesh cricket within the Sultan of Swing.

"Bangladesh has always been close to my heart. The people, the food, the country and of course the cricket," Wasim beamed after greeting the host and guests Minhajul Abedin, Akram Khan and Khaled Masud. "For me, it is a proud moment to see Bangladesh improve immensely over the last 10-12 years."

For many, exactly what had lured Wasim to the Dhaka Premier League in the 90s, is unfathomable.  "Even the first game… the crowd…it was packed. I was amazed to see the interest," he said about his first game for Abahani.

The sheer weight of his talent and character harkens back to the golden days of Bangladesh's domestic league, which then had more colour and spirit of competition than at any time since.

Wasim was looking for new cricketing experiences but inadvertently gave the country a taste of what world-class bowling really looks like. If for many it is hard to understand how Bangladesh were able to even stand in front of quality bowling lineups in the 1999 World Cup in England, they should probably look at the fact that the competitive means in the domestic league had prepared them somewhat for what to expect.

There could not be a better expert to ask for advice on producing fast bowlers than Wasim, given that he has not only bagged a hattrick in Bangladesh, but also because the wickets in Pakistan and Bangladesh have a flat nature. Yet, Pakistan have kept producing fast bowling talent like no other. Tamim asked Wasim for advice to budding Bangladeshi pacers.

"If any young bowler wants to improve, they need to get into two or three-day cricket at 16, 17 years of age. Nowadays everyone wants to play T20 cricket but that is a very easy format.

"Any youngster you see who is fast and has potential, stop putting into his mind that he can't get wickets on slow wickets. What happens is, that as a young guy, if you hear all around you that 'I am not going to get wickets', psychologically he will be negative on those wickets. He has to learn how to swing the ball and bowl fuller on slow wickets. I enjoyed bowling on slow wickets, especially in Tests, since you can swing the ball and contain the batsman," Wasim said.

Akram and Minjajul detailed how Wasim's involvement in Bangladesh cricket had prepared them for the next level but what Wasim said about grooming youngsters should also the be held as a remarkable advice from the great contributor.

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