Pace attack July 26, 2007

Fast bowlers, Kerry Packer, and the power of role models

114

Reading Mohammad Asif’s interview on Cricinfo—with his reference to the diet of the Punjab—reminded me that we are far from a convincing explanation for Pakistan’s relative abundance of fast bowlers compared with India. Asif’s explanation, which happens to be a common view among many people both sides of the border, is unsustainable. India and Pakistan are countries divided by a line drawn by humans not by dint of physical or dietary attributes. Indeed, India has had several bowlers who have periodically touched high speeds. Javagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar are examples.

I have an alternative theory: the power of the role model. In the early years Pakistan enjoyed the luxury of higher quality swing and seam bowling than might have been expected of the fledglings of world cricket. You couldn’t, however, have called them express pacemen. Sarfraz Nawaz, the godfather of reverse swing—and probably much else besides—was nothing more than fast medium from an enormous crazy-horse run. His rookie partner was a medium pace inswing bowler, Imran Khan.

When Imran and the other glitterati of Pakistan cricket joined Kerry Packer’s circus, they mixed with the game’s best and fastest bowlers. Clearly Imran was highly self-motivated and focused, but the Packer experience helped him understand the standard he and his country had to reach to compete at international level.

Post Packer, Imran became a true role model as fast bowler, captain, and glamour boy. Without him would we have had Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis? Probably yes, but in the way they developed, probably not. Without Imran, Wasim and Waqar would we have Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif? I guess not. It is interesting how many Indian fast bowlers also point to Wasim, in particular, as a role model.

All of which leads me to a troublesome conclusion. If you accept my hypothesis about the power of role model, what example are Shoaib and Asif setting? Shoaib’s unprofessional attitude has become legend, and an intermittent maestro is an unsatisfactory role model. Both of them have been tainted by the drugs scandal. Under a new captain, coach, and reprieve from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Pakistan cricket has the look of somebody who has cheated the electric chair: bewildered euphoria.

Shoaib and Asif must now become role models who will inspire their team but also the future fast bowlers of Pakistan, a serious responsibility. We will now discover if they are capable of greatness like the role models who went before them.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhid zakaria on May 16, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    Hey guys if any of you remember the final of the under 19 world cup 2006, you may remember the trio of anwar, jamshaid and imad.....why aren't any of the under 19 players given a chance in the senior squad? The BCCi was quick to bring in rohit sharma into the Indian squad. Pakistan needs pace bowlers then i don't c anything wrong with bringing in the pace trio that won Pakistan u 19 the world cup of 2006.

  • Miten on August 20, 2007, 20:18 GMT

    I agree with your viewpoint on the importance of role models. The youngsters relate to international players at a very early age and try and emulate not only that player's game but also their attitude and temperament. Players like Flintoff, Shoaib, Gibbs amongst many others who constantly misbehave in public set very deep impressions in the minds of youngsters who idolize them and want to be like them. With great power comes great responsibility. Let me add that if I had any say with regards to the selection in international teams, the selections would be based on the highest level of professionalism and not talent and skill alone. I have full confidence that our sport doesn't need hooligans and controversies to increase its viewership. There are just way too many hard-working, well-behaved and spirited cricketers always waiting for a chance at the top level for us to worry about the 'bad boys' of cricket.

  • ZEESHAN on August 5, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Mr Javed A.Khan

    Imran Khan does the right thing by praising the youning players.What wrong thing has he done by admiring YOUNIS ASIF nd SAMI? Kelvin Pietersen is the fastest to reach 1000 ODI runs.He is the 2nd highest point scorer in ICC rankings after 25 Test matches only DONALD BRADMAN is above him.Pietersen has scored against Magrath MURLI WARNEetc and has proved him self in difficult and demanding conditions.I think you have forgotten what ASIF did against him.ASIF is in top 10 in bowlers ranking after just 9 tests and he will be on very top in the list of best strike rates after bowling 2000 deliveries. Younis is in top 10 in rankings and has scored a lot of runs in last two years thats the reason YORKSHIRE signed him. What Imran has done wrong by praising them.Dont foget he has a great telent identifing eye had he identified WASIM WAQAR AND INZAMAM. In case of SAMI he gives reason that he is not successful because of Inzamam's defensive captaincy.Dont forget that Imran used WASIM AND WAQAR as attacking bowlers and made them great bowlers. Asif can be arole model.He has only played 9 tests and he should not be criticized.Those who say that he caant be a role model should not forget that he is new to international cricket. WASIM AND WAQAR became greats after playing about 100 tests. In making Imran a hero his education is a factor.People also like his other qualities expect playing.

  • Gulab Khan on August 5, 2007, 6:02 GMT

    For Mohd Asif

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=67099

    Karachi A overpowers Lahore D 6-1

    Football need more power and strenght. who is physically better? You decided.

    Your statement is impropriate. Allah gave every one ability to perform. Always thanks to Allah who gave u apportunity and after that also thanks to ur domicile who helped you to become part of Pakistan cricket team.

    Gulab Khan Peshawer

  • Junaid on August 3, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    I don't understand the negative comments about Asif. He is the best hope for Pakistan in next 5 years or so. He is young and needs time to learn to face the media. Wasim and Waqar were lucky to be groomed under Imran and that is why it is so important to make some one like Wasim or Waqar as bowling coach or manager to groom these young cricketers. Fast bowling is about physical and mental strength, aggression and art of swing. Who ever have all these attributes and work hard on his fitness can be a good fast bowler. More bowlers are from Punjab because 60% population is Punjab and there might be a more interest in youth for fast bowling than other areas.

  • Vishwajit Iyer on August 3, 2007, 3:19 GMT

    Good Article and thought provoking as always...Kamran Sahab. I would certainly agree about role models, coming from India as kids we were always partial about batting, having said that growing up in Cochin-south india-every cricket match we played would have only one type of bowlers...i.e wanting to bowl fast because we used to play with rubber balls which would skid thru at a good pace and not spin much. Wonder where all those kids went when they grew up... I would also think that tape ball(of which i would think most indians who have played representative cricket) would be unaware off would be a big factor in breeding fast bowlers. I would disagree with the fact about punjab beeing the ideal breeding ground(having said that, yes-the portents are there on both sides of the border), if genetics is the issue, how do you account for the likes of Malinga, Dilhara Fernando from SL who can bowl at 90kmph or therabouts? I remember Javagal Srinath was clocked 155kmph once in South africa before his shoulder injury-and for the record he is a vegetarian. I would think it is more a role model issue, but surely this whole hype of punjabis alone being able to bowl fast....is hog wash. As far as India is concerned, the attitude towards quick bowling is slowly changing and the day is not far when indian express quick bowlers will be whistling it past the opposition's ears...Watch out. And as far as role models go...i think they transcend boundaries, i'm sure iin India or elsewher inthe world there are kinds wanting to emulate Imran, 2w's, Shoiab etc

  • Muhammad Asif on August 2, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    Sami Syed from Toronto

    Perhaps most of the people would agree with you but it seemz to be a wishfull thinking at the moment. we(Pakis) never held ourselves accountable whether its home or office (in general). Which is the root-cause of all the ills. I don't know how much time it will take but if we have to survive we have to start this process (accountability) sooner or later. We just don't want to live as a community, I don't know, Why? but it is how we are at the moment. We have to get rid of the words like this " Let him suffer, Coz I too suffered." Again a wishfull thinking........

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 2, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    It may appear to some that I have digressed from the subject, I don't think so. Because, this thread is about fast bowlers and particularly about Imran Khan, his fast bowling and his role model capabilities. Hence, I raised this important question: Why Garry Sobers was preferred over Imran Khan as the greatest all-rounder? I don't want to be singled out here in defending Imran Khan and my name appearing on this blog like spam. I mean like, "The Spam" of Monty Python. I want more Pakistanis to express their views to defend their hero and this is exactly my point is about, Pakistanis in general love to criticize each other, they love mudslinging on their heroes but, when it comes to defend their heroes they are silent spectators. They have done this at every level, be it cricket (current victim is poor Inzi), politics or music (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, is another example).

    Here is my retort for Marcus & Rahul in response to their recent riposte. First, Marcus: Your view that the Panel does not have "an obligation to agree with the majority opinion - after all, they're not elected officials" sounds like a bureaucratic reply to me and its just like someone recently said: 'Pakistan's President does not have an obligation towards the nation in implementing any rule, he can impose his decisions on the public as he likes it, because he is not an elected official.' So, you talk about your rights and forget about your obligations? You are saying the Panel is under no obligation, it means the cricinfo also has no obligation? Then why sugar coat this process and call it a public survey to choose the world's best all-rounder by readers choice?

    And Rahul, perhaps you are not aware of or, do not remember that, Imran Khan was out of the regular tests matches 'coz of playing for Kerry Packer and also his shin injury kept him out for three years during the peak of his bowling career. So, that answers your question? I am aware of Sober's performance and his average and, also his 365 against Pakistan, but in the same series the little Master Hanif Mohammad challenged the mighty West Indies of that era with a 337 in the second innings of first test (scoring a triple ton in second innings is not easy and it is still a world record) and Pakistan won the last test due to Fazal Mahmood and Nasim ul Ghani's bowling. Remember Sobers retired in 1974 and during those days he did not face stiff competition except from England and Australia. During Sobers era, both India and Pakistan cricket was in the process of evolution and team building, there was no Sri Lanka or South Africa and NZ was the fifth team in the cricketing world and they were considered as minnows.

    The author of that column tried to give Imran a carrot by saying; "he developed into a top class batsmen only later in his career." But, what he did not mention is, Sobers performance in the later part of his career declined and unfortunately for him his solo ODI in 1973 he scored a duck and also in the last test he played in 1974, he scored a duck and retired. Whereas, Imran retired more gracefully after winning the World Cup and, most people say he was at the peak of his batting career and "I am agree." ;-) And how can one ignore the leadership skills of a player in judging him as an all-rounder? They include fielding as a criteria but exclude the leadership skills, which often puts a player under pressure to perform as a bowler or a batsman. Tell me why Tendulkar refused to captain the Indian team?

    As regards the percentage of votes the report says they arrived at a decision after 10,000 readers have voted (read the last 2 lines of that column). So, what is more important? The readers votes? Or, the decision of the Panel lead by Mr. Sambit Bal? And do you deny the fact history is being re-written by the historians? Earlier it used to be the text books only, but now in this age its like, "journalism sans borders" and in this respect the Indian historians are way ahead of the Pakistanis. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia which is there to distort the facts by the users as it suits them, just look at the avatars of Wiki and you'll see who dominates there?

    Now, I would like to digress a little because, no one including myself can ignore Osman Samiuddin's latest article "A legend in limbo" on cricinfo about Inzamam and the PCB's decision to keep him out of the test team. It certainly needs to be discussed and I concur Sami Syed's request to initiate a thread on Inzi. Also, the subject of team selection without Mohammad Yousuf is another interesting point to be discussed. And finally, Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Sir - I have not lived in KSA - Jamais! And, I have no desire whatsoever to live there ever. Although I am not so religious yet I've been there twice in my life to fulfill my religious duties and obligations c'est ca and that is enough for me. Anyways thanks for reading the posts with interest and for the appreciation, credit goes to Kamran Abbassi for allowing my claptrap posts on this blog.

  • Omer Admani on August 2, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Wasim Saqib, I don't know whether the series would have completely changed in England had Hair not been the umpire (maybe some of them were genuine mistakes in the first three tests), though I am sure Pakistan would have won if Akmal weren't wicketkeeping. Hell, we might have won in South Africa as well without Akmal. He drops catches at a phenominal rate. Any batsman, not only Pieterson, would score a century if dropped twice or thrice in an innings.

  • Sami Syed from Toronto on August 2, 2007, 0:43 GMT

    KAMRAN SAHAB!!! (Did I get your attention yet?) Can you write a BLOG about INZAMAM-ul-Haq PLEASE!!!

    Okay, here is the way I see it about him... Miserable World Cup endeavour led to his ouster. He retired from ODI due to WC result and Bob's death, which is fine. However, why is he not being selected for TEST cricket is beyond me?

    He has probably the highest match-winning performances among all cricketers. He didn't perform so badly in the recent past either.

    What is it about PCB and Pakistan not appreciating their greats... Not being a chance for an honorable EXIT??? Now, even I believe youngsters need to be groomed and developed now, however he was the back bone of the line up. In his recent matches we saw what he can do even with the tail.

    Yes he might be older, and might not have the quick reflexes but I believe he is probably a better batsman than more than half the Pakistani cricket team right now... What India did to Ganguly is exactly what's happening to Inzamam. To be pushed out like that is not honorable for Pakistan and not fair to arguably Pakistan's best produced batsman. Even other players such as Waqar and Javed Miandad, didn't get that chance.

    So what about Inzamam, what about his chance to be playing a couple of TEST series for Pakistan. I think he can have a positive contribution, and youngsters can learn from his temprament...

    WHAT DO YOU SAY KAMRAN SAHAB???

  • Muhid zakaria on May 16, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    Hey guys if any of you remember the final of the under 19 world cup 2006, you may remember the trio of anwar, jamshaid and imad.....why aren't any of the under 19 players given a chance in the senior squad? The BCCi was quick to bring in rohit sharma into the Indian squad. Pakistan needs pace bowlers then i don't c anything wrong with bringing in the pace trio that won Pakistan u 19 the world cup of 2006.

  • Miten on August 20, 2007, 20:18 GMT

    I agree with your viewpoint on the importance of role models. The youngsters relate to international players at a very early age and try and emulate not only that player's game but also their attitude and temperament. Players like Flintoff, Shoaib, Gibbs amongst many others who constantly misbehave in public set very deep impressions in the minds of youngsters who idolize them and want to be like them. With great power comes great responsibility. Let me add that if I had any say with regards to the selection in international teams, the selections would be based on the highest level of professionalism and not talent and skill alone. I have full confidence that our sport doesn't need hooligans and controversies to increase its viewership. There are just way too many hard-working, well-behaved and spirited cricketers always waiting for a chance at the top level for us to worry about the 'bad boys' of cricket.

  • ZEESHAN on August 5, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Mr Javed A.Khan

    Imran Khan does the right thing by praising the youning players.What wrong thing has he done by admiring YOUNIS ASIF nd SAMI? Kelvin Pietersen is the fastest to reach 1000 ODI runs.He is the 2nd highest point scorer in ICC rankings after 25 Test matches only DONALD BRADMAN is above him.Pietersen has scored against Magrath MURLI WARNEetc and has proved him self in difficult and demanding conditions.I think you have forgotten what ASIF did against him.ASIF is in top 10 in bowlers ranking after just 9 tests and he will be on very top in the list of best strike rates after bowling 2000 deliveries. Younis is in top 10 in rankings and has scored a lot of runs in last two years thats the reason YORKSHIRE signed him. What Imran has done wrong by praising them.Dont foget he has a great telent identifing eye had he identified WASIM WAQAR AND INZAMAM. In case of SAMI he gives reason that he is not successful because of Inzamam's defensive captaincy.Dont forget that Imran used WASIM AND WAQAR as attacking bowlers and made them great bowlers. Asif can be arole model.He has only played 9 tests and he should not be criticized.Those who say that he caant be a role model should not forget that he is new to international cricket. WASIM AND WAQAR became greats after playing about 100 tests. In making Imran a hero his education is a factor.People also like his other qualities expect playing.

  • Gulab Khan on August 5, 2007, 6:02 GMT

    For Mohd Asif

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=67099

    Karachi A overpowers Lahore D 6-1

    Football need more power and strenght. who is physically better? You decided.

    Your statement is impropriate. Allah gave every one ability to perform. Always thanks to Allah who gave u apportunity and after that also thanks to ur domicile who helped you to become part of Pakistan cricket team.

    Gulab Khan Peshawer

  • Junaid on August 3, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    I don't understand the negative comments about Asif. He is the best hope for Pakistan in next 5 years or so. He is young and needs time to learn to face the media. Wasim and Waqar were lucky to be groomed under Imran and that is why it is so important to make some one like Wasim or Waqar as bowling coach or manager to groom these young cricketers. Fast bowling is about physical and mental strength, aggression and art of swing. Who ever have all these attributes and work hard on his fitness can be a good fast bowler. More bowlers are from Punjab because 60% population is Punjab and there might be a more interest in youth for fast bowling than other areas.

  • Vishwajit Iyer on August 3, 2007, 3:19 GMT

    Good Article and thought provoking as always...Kamran Sahab. I would certainly agree about role models, coming from India as kids we were always partial about batting, having said that growing up in Cochin-south india-every cricket match we played would have only one type of bowlers...i.e wanting to bowl fast because we used to play with rubber balls which would skid thru at a good pace and not spin much. Wonder where all those kids went when they grew up... I would also think that tape ball(of which i would think most indians who have played representative cricket) would be unaware off would be a big factor in breeding fast bowlers. I would disagree with the fact about punjab beeing the ideal breeding ground(having said that, yes-the portents are there on both sides of the border), if genetics is the issue, how do you account for the likes of Malinga, Dilhara Fernando from SL who can bowl at 90kmph or therabouts? I remember Javagal Srinath was clocked 155kmph once in South africa before his shoulder injury-and for the record he is a vegetarian. I would think it is more a role model issue, but surely this whole hype of punjabis alone being able to bowl fast....is hog wash. As far as India is concerned, the attitude towards quick bowling is slowly changing and the day is not far when indian express quick bowlers will be whistling it past the opposition's ears...Watch out. And as far as role models go...i think they transcend boundaries, i'm sure iin India or elsewher inthe world there are kinds wanting to emulate Imran, 2w's, Shoiab etc

  • Muhammad Asif on August 2, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    Sami Syed from Toronto

    Perhaps most of the people would agree with you but it seemz to be a wishfull thinking at the moment. we(Pakis) never held ourselves accountable whether its home or office (in general). Which is the root-cause of all the ills. I don't know how much time it will take but if we have to survive we have to start this process (accountability) sooner or later. We just don't want to live as a community, I don't know, Why? but it is how we are at the moment. We have to get rid of the words like this " Let him suffer, Coz I too suffered." Again a wishfull thinking........

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on August 2, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    It may appear to some that I have digressed from the subject, I don't think so. Because, this thread is about fast bowlers and particularly about Imran Khan, his fast bowling and his role model capabilities. Hence, I raised this important question: Why Garry Sobers was preferred over Imran Khan as the greatest all-rounder? I don't want to be singled out here in defending Imran Khan and my name appearing on this blog like spam. I mean like, "The Spam" of Monty Python. I want more Pakistanis to express their views to defend their hero and this is exactly my point is about, Pakistanis in general love to criticize each other, they love mudslinging on their heroes but, when it comes to defend their heroes they are silent spectators. They have done this at every level, be it cricket (current victim is poor Inzi), politics or music (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, is another example).

    Here is my retort for Marcus & Rahul in response to their recent riposte. First, Marcus: Your view that the Panel does not have "an obligation to agree with the majority opinion - after all, they're not elected officials" sounds like a bureaucratic reply to me and its just like someone recently said: 'Pakistan's President does not have an obligation towards the nation in implementing any rule, he can impose his decisions on the public as he likes it, because he is not an elected official.' So, you talk about your rights and forget about your obligations? You are saying the Panel is under no obligation, it means the cricinfo also has no obligation? Then why sugar coat this process and call it a public survey to choose the world's best all-rounder by readers choice?

    And Rahul, perhaps you are not aware of or, do not remember that, Imran Khan was out of the regular tests matches 'coz of playing for Kerry Packer and also his shin injury kept him out for three years during the peak of his bowling career. So, that answers your question? I am aware of Sober's performance and his average and, also his 365 against Pakistan, but in the same series the little Master Hanif Mohammad challenged the mighty West Indies of that era with a 337 in the second innings of first test (scoring a triple ton in second innings is not easy and it is still a world record) and Pakistan won the last test due to Fazal Mahmood and Nasim ul Ghani's bowling. Remember Sobers retired in 1974 and during those days he did not face stiff competition except from England and Australia. During Sobers era, both India and Pakistan cricket was in the process of evolution and team building, there was no Sri Lanka or South Africa and NZ was the fifth team in the cricketing world and they were considered as minnows.

    The author of that column tried to give Imran a carrot by saying; "he developed into a top class batsmen only later in his career." But, what he did not mention is, Sobers performance in the later part of his career declined and unfortunately for him his solo ODI in 1973 he scored a duck and also in the last test he played in 1974, he scored a duck and retired. Whereas, Imran retired more gracefully after winning the World Cup and, most people say he was at the peak of his batting career and "I am agree." ;-) And how can one ignore the leadership skills of a player in judging him as an all-rounder? They include fielding as a criteria but exclude the leadership skills, which often puts a player under pressure to perform as a bowler or a batsman. Tell me why Tendulkar refused to captain the Indian team?

    As regards the percentage of votes the report says they arrived at a decision after 10,000 readers have voted (read the last 2 lines of that column). So, what is more important? The readers votes? Or, the decision of the Panel lead by Mr. Sambit Bal? And do you deny the fact history is being re-written by the historians? Earlier it used to be the text books only, but now in this age its like, "journalism sans borders" and in this respect the Indian historians are way ahead of the Pakistanis. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia which is there to distort the facts by the users as it suits them, just look at the avatars of Wiki and you'll see who dominates there?

    Now, I would like to digress a little because, no one including myself can ignore Osman Samiuddin's latest article "A legend in limbo" on cricinfo about Inzamam and the PCB's decision to keep him out of the test team. It certainly needs to be discussed and I concur Sami Syed's request to initiate a thread on Inzi. Also, the subject of team selection without Mohammad Yousuf is another interesting point to be discussed. And finally, Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Sir - I have not lived in KSA - Jamais! And, I have no desire whatsoever to live there ever. Although I am not so religious yet I've been there twice in my life to fulfill my religious duties and obligations c'est ca and that is enough for me. Anyways thanks for reading the posts with interest and for the appreciation, credit goes to Kamran Abbassi for allowing my claptrap posts on this blog.

  • Omer Admani on August 2, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Wasim Saqib, I don't know whether the series would have completely changed in England had Hair not been the umpire (maybe some of them were genuine mistakes in the first three tests), though I am sure Pakistan would have won if Akmal weren't wicketkeeping. Hell, we might have won in South Africa as well without Akmal. He drops catches at a phenominal rate. Any batsman, not only Pieterson, would score a century if dropped twice or thrice in an innings.

  • Sami Syed from Toronto on August 2, 2007, 0:43 GMT

    KAMRAN SAHAB!!! (Did I get your attention yet?) Can you write a BLOG about INZAMAM-ul-Haq PLEASE!!!

    Okay, here is the way I see it about him... Miserable World Cup endeavour led to his ouster. He retired from ODI due to WC result and Bob's death, which is fine. However, why is he not being selected for TEST cricket is beyond me?

    He has probably the highest match-winning performances among all cricketers. He didn't perform so badly in the recent past either.

    What is it about PCB and Pakistan not appreciating their greats... Not being a chance for an honorable EXIT??? Now, even I believe youngsters need to be groomed and developed now, however he was the back bone of the line up. In his recent matches we saw what he can do even with the tail.

    Yes he might be older, and might not have the quick reflexes but I believe he is probably a better batsman than more than half the Pakistani cricket team right now... What India did to Ganguly is exactly what's happening to Inzamam. To be pushed out like that is not honorable for Pakistan and not fair to arguably Pakistan's best produced batsman. Even other players such as Waqar and Javed Miandad, didn't get that chance.

    So what about Inzamam, what about his chance to be playing a couple of TEST series for Pakistan. I think he can have a positive contribution, and youngsters can learn from his temprament...

    WHAT DO YOU SAY KAMRAN SAHAB???

  • Marcus on August 2, 2007, 0:41 GMT

    Javed A. Khan

    Thank you for your reply. First of all, talking about the ODIs, that same logic can be used to claim that Mathew Hayden is better than Victor Trumper because Trumper never played in the subcontinent.

    However, you're right in that I'm biased towards Sobers, and I think you're also right in that the panel was always going to choose Sobers as the greatest allrounder. However, I think that has more to do with the fact that they genuinely thought that he was the best, rather than some plot to keep Imran down. Regarding my other statement regarding Wasim Akram, perhaps I'm wrong and if I am I apologise, however I can't see how people rationalise calling Wasim a greater allrounder than Miller, Botham, Hadlee, Kapil Dev or some other candidates. A better bowler, perhaps, but a better ALLROUNDER?

    Regarding the other point raised, which was that the panel went against popular opinion, I don't see any inconsistency in that. They asked the people to vote, they published the "People's Choice" allrounder, then they published the panel's choice. No doubt they would have discussed it amongst themselves, and weighed the merits of Sobers, Imran and the rest, then came up with their decision-as I say, most likely because they really stand by it, not just out of spite. I don't believe that they had an obligation to agree with the majority opinion- after all, they're not elected officials.

  • Rahul on August 1, 2007, 23:45 GMT

    Mr Javed A khan, Is it the india media that is trying to re-write history or is it that you are unable to look at the reporting from the indian reporters from an unbiased viewpoint. Now coming to the matter of Imran being the greatest all - rounder and the obvious "fix" in choosing sobers--it is very surprising that inspite of playing 2 form of the games test and ODI Imran managed to score almost more than 2000 odd runs less than sobers inspite of playing more no. of matches than sobers. Also, is ODI more challenging than test for a fast bowler, where he is required to bowl 10 overs and in some cases not even 10 overs, giving him ample time to rest. While in test cricket a bowler on ana average bowls 20-25 overs per innings which not only test his mental strength but also his stamina. So if we look at it, sobers not only managed to take 235 wickets but also score 8032 runs with an all time high score of 365 which many accomplished batsman could not match for almost 30 odd years. This clearly shows that sobers stood the "test" of time while imran inspite of playing in two forms of the game managed 6000 odd runs and 500 odd wickets. On an apple to apple comparision, sobers clearly stands way above imran. Your comparision is more like an apple to oranges comparision ( by dragging in imran's captaincy). If captaincy is to be considered to be a parameter to judge an all rounder than all the players who have ever captained their teams should have been part of the survey. Also, the survey just shows the % age of votes of the respondents not the no. of voters. So it clearly shows that the of the total %age of voters who voted, pakistanis constituted the majprity and hence Imran and Akram getting 37% and 14% of the votes. Also, pakistan is really in need of a role model in cricket and since they cant fine one in the present genration, they keep reverting back to the older generatio and try to keep them in the "greatest player" list else the new kids may model themselves on Indian or Srilankan cricketers.Also you can never rule out the multiple voting being carried out by the fans..can we? So looks like more than the indian media trying to rewrite history, it is the pakistani fans who are trying to rewrite history...well keep up the good work, coz we like to hear differing views as it helps in understanding the "impartial and unbiased" voice from across the border.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on August 1, 2007, 10:34 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi this blog used to be a very good forum for cricketing discussions until recently. Now thins have changed and I see many of us getting personal, as individuals we all are entitled to have an openion and that may differ from many. In case our openions differ we must try to sort this our by way of discussions and not getting personal like some bloggers have now started. I like reading Mr. Javed A. Khans and few others posts even the ones that I dont agree to, but I have never indulged into any personal arguments with them. Let us all try and keep this forum clean and avoid creating bad blood here, Cricket is a game of gentlemen and so we should try and behave. Coming back to the comments of few bloggers I would like to post this rejoinder;

    Mr Noor in his comments above stated that Pakistanis must take a cue from the Indian cricketrs and learn to accept the Umpire's decessions. As a rule of thumb this is the elementry thing that all cricketers must learn, having said this I beg to differ with his views that the Indians behave gracefully when the Umpires give decessions which in their openion is not good for them, on the contrary the Indians have never shown this characteristics and not only the cricketers but the press, commentaters and the entire Indian nation starts making a big fuss about it. He also goes on to brand Pakistani cricketers as jokers, maybe he did not actually mean it. The truth is that Pakistani cricketers are not highly educated or even groomed properly when compared with other cricket playing countries or even India and bangladesh, this is why they react at the spurr of the moment. The responsibility thus lies on the PCB to really educate and groom them properly before blooding them in the national squads. One really cannot blame the players for their follies in this regard and to term them jokers is a bit rude, I would certainly refrain from doing this for these cricketers have given us many a moments of Glory despite being under educated as well as under groomed.

    Mr Ahmad Siddiqui's peice is also brilliant, yes indeed you are right. The problem however is that the the role model figures have either become controversial and/or have gone into oblivian. I am referring to Asif Masood, Imran, Sarfaraz and the 2 great W's. Imran has turned into politician and like all the politicians he just talks, Asif Masood the gentleman that he was decided to leave everything and settle down for a quite life in England, as regards Sarfaraz, I really dont need to elaborate as his controversial statements are a common thing now a days. Wasim some how is not has a bit of a tainted past so now we are left with Waqar who the PCB dosent like. How do you think we can solve this issue, we have role model figures but have they justice to their responsibilities as role models. Its not only them the PCB also is to be blamed because it is also their responsibility of PCB to involve them in PCB affairs which they have not done. My suggestion is that PCB should invite them and get them involved in coaching the budding talent and introduce scolarships under their names. This is the only method that can make these cricketing greats to become role models.

    Javed Khan sahib, I enjoy reading your posts and some how get a feeling that I know you and I guess is that you have lived in Saudi Arabia where you used to manage Saudi Catering cricket team, pls confirm if I am correct.

    Rgds / pakigreen

  • srivathsan on August 1, 2007, 8:22 GMT

    I agree kamran on this issue.Though physical structure of the people in a particular region may help in the area of fast bowling, it cannot be resticted to punjab area alone much less the food habit.It is the zeal & determination to achive counts more than any thing else.Imran,wasim ,waqar have been role model for youngsters & this has led to emergence of some good fast bowlers in pakistan.But of late both india & pakistan are preferring dead pitches to green tops.This in the long run may kill the enthusiasm of pace bowlers which is not good for cricket.Successive coaches both in india & pak have failed to convince the boards to go in for live pitches.Unless this happens,we will continue to be poor performers abroad.I also agree with JAVED A.KHAN that undue praise of youngsters by so called experts have only spoiled their career .Critics have to be balanced in their approach as too much of any thing is too bad.This has happened in india also.finally ,the artile is very good,well thought off & well presented.

  • WASIM SAQIB on July 31, 2007, 23:13 GMT

    NOOR

    If you couldn't see how Pakistan were robbed of a full series last year in England,and how Darrel Hair tried his best to wrongfully implicate Pakistan team for Ball tempering then I would suggest change your name from "NOOR" to "Bey Noor" as you cant see things in the right perspective. You only validated Javed Khan's point that Indian Media and I would suggest Indians at large fail to see things with an impartial perspective you guys are making hue and cry over a few bad decisions that went against against your team and are quick to blame Pakistani team for the Oval fiasco where we were robbed of a whole series,its a shame. As far as your Joker remark is concerned did you see the look on Tendulkars face after he was given out in my opinion he looked like a complete joker.

  • Raja Pakistani on July 31, 2007, 21:22 GMT

    In Nadia Khan talk show Shoiab Malik showed his PUNJABI proudness and said for Autrlians some thing like that I am PUNJABI, how could they .....

    In the TV prog. Champions Ex crickter Ijaz Ahmed gives comment about Moin Khan as below:

    He was only from Karachi who go along with cricketers from PUNJAB and he also speak PUNJABI with us. He also gave negative comments for Rashid Latif and Javed Miandad. Please note: Both ex-cricketrs are from karachi.

    Now Mohammad Asif gave his remarks about PUNJABI proudness.

    This all nonsense, PCB needs to come out from this PUJABI phobia. Best to move PCB in Karcahi which is be called Mini Pakistan. Karachi produce multi cast players for our National cricket team. And all of them are proud Pakistani. They do not talk the way some cricketers from PUNJAB are talking now a days. This is very bad for our Nationalisim.

    Karachi produces Mansoor Akhtar (Originally PUNJABI), Haroon Rasheed (Originally PUNJABI), Afrid (Originally PHATTAN), Younis Khan (Orig. Pathan), Zaheer Abbas (Origin. PUNJABI), Qaim Omer (Originally Kenyan) etc but they never gave racial statement as like Shoaib Malik, Ijaz Ahmed and now Mohd Aisf.

    PCB should take action. This is representing thinking of our palyers and captain. I am sorry for non-punjabi cricketers (specially from Karachi).

    Raja Pakistani Sialkot

  • Naeem on July 31, 2007, 19:52 GMT

    Mr. SHAHZAD ARIF, I am not saying that all the players should be from NWFP. I am not even saying that the players from the rest of the country are any bad. But what I am saying is that in time when I tried to be in the national team, it was a time of politics and stupid criterias. Probably, the situation with in the board isn't any different now but perhaps less politics are involved. I had a passion for cricket, and I still do. I do believe that I can be as good of a fast bowler as any of the guys in the team right now. AM i going to start playing for the US cricket team. NO!!!! because I only had/have one passion and that was to play for Pakistan. I can also assure you that if our fast bowlers start using the gym more, and work out on their strength, they could be a lot better. But who am I to worry about that. There is no concept of strength training in Pakistan cricket and yet we wonder how the aussies are so fit. So you mr. Shahzad Arif, don't get mad at me. I don't have any intentions of getting you upset. After all, Pakistan is made up of all the four provinces, and its incomplete with out any one of them. So peace be with yourself.

  • Omer Admani on July 31, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    EAMIRAN, Niazi's might have lived in Punjab for centuries, but the gene emerges from Afghania. In fact, in Khan's own words, that is his first form of identification. Like you youirself argue, the gene is significant for the fast bowler. Imran Khan can't be called Punjabi (he can, but since you hold the 'gene' in the essence), because Punjab is not only a place but punjabis are a people as well (with a different gene than Khan's).

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on July 31, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    Marcus

    The reason you don't see any absurdity in that selection is because you are viewing the decision of the Panel through a coloured curtain. The Panel did the same thing in selecting Sobers and, neither their logic nor their reasoning is justified and substantiated in their comments. It is a clear cut and a very biased decision to stop Imran Khan or even Wasim Akram from the limelight or the spotlight by choosing Sobers as the greatest all-rounder. Obviously they had no other way to stop Imran Khan. Because, not only Imran even, Wasim was rated high above Kapil Dev, so he was out of the contention. The decision to choose Sobers was not just to please him or the West Indies people, but it was meant to STOP Imran Khan wearing that crown.

    Talking of statistics, Sobers has scored 8032 runs and took 235 wickets in test cricket, played only one ODI and scored a duck and took one wicket, thats all. The important point that the Panel ignored is during the time of Sobers there were no ODI games, which takes away a lot of energy of the players, especially for fast bowlers and the rest of the candidates specifically, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, if you combine their achievements in both forms of the game, the results are very different. Imran's tally goes up to 6516 runs and 544 wickets, similarly Wasim's runs goes up to 6615 runs and his wickets in both forms of the game are phenomenal 916. So, when you are choosing the greatest all-rounder you have to look at his performance from every perspective. And the reason Imran Khan stood head & shoulders above the rest is because of his shrewed Captaincy and for his innovative fast bowling and, he is a real internationally acclaimed role model, admired in many countries.

    To me it appears very ridiculous that the Panel initially asked the readers to vote and help them in choosing the world's greatest all-rounder, and when the results were not as per their expectations they decided whichever way they liked it. To say that so many Pakistanis must have voted in favour of Imran and Wasim is laughable. Mind you when it comes to voting, rating, reading and writing Pakistanis, compared to Indians are way behind and they are not the type of people to participate in such surveys or "sondage". So, your notion that most Pakistanis must have voted for Imran and Wasim does not hold any waters, may I ask what were the Indians and the West Indians doing, watching the Pakistanis vote? Osman Ali Khairi has already pointed out that weakness among Pakistanis and the strength of the Indian media which is out there to re-write the history. To sum up my views in one sentence about why Sobers is chosen over Imran Khan, I would use the proverbial expression: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on July 31, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    Abbasi Saheb I have been following the career of Imran Khan since the days he played the under19 and also represented the Punjab University. The first time that I saw him was at Dhaka in 1969 when he played for PU against EPSF at the Dhaka Stadium under the captaincy of Wasim Raja and mr masud Sallahuddin was the manager of PU team. He scored a brilliant hundred and was clearly the fastest bowler in the Pakistan. He shared the new ball with Majid Usman who was also very brisk but Imran was something different. He was so fast the the East Pakistan batsmen were really scared so Wasim Raja changed him and came on to bowl fast himself. I would therefore beg to disagree with Mr. Abbasi regarding the post paker effect on Imran that he cites in his column above. Imran definately had the potential right from the begening and his 4 year initial stint in england with counties as well as Oxford team polished his bowling and made him a world class bowler and by 1974 he was already amongst the elites of that time. During the 1974 tour of England by the Pakistanis Imran rejoined the team and was clearly a different bowler that the one he was in the solitary test that he played for Pakistan on the 1970 tour of England.

    I still remember the comments Mr. Masood Sallahuddin (the then manager of Punjab University team)who was full of praise for Imran when he scored the hundred at Dhaka, and went on saying that its not his batting that will be the cause of his climb to the top instead this boy will go on to be one of the best bowlers in the world, of course it sounded silly at that time but now we know how right he was.

    Coming back to the fast bowlers I think it was Asif Masood and Sarfaraz who were the poineers of the art of fast bowling in Pakistan and it was only after these two played for Pakistan the we started seeing the influs of budding young cricketers taking to fast bowling seriously and by the eighties we stated producing genuing fast bowlers as is happening now in India.

    So I think it was due to Asif and big Saf followed by Imran that really generated the interest in talented youngsters to take up fast bowling seriously because in the pre Asif/Sarf days we Pakistan used to rely more on spin and the seamers were used to just get off the shine on the cherry so as to let the spinners come in. Such a scenarion was the main reason for the fast bowling decline in Pakistan.

    I still remember how we enjoyed watching Asif Masood bowl in England on the 1970 tour and the impact it had on local cricket, you could see almost every youngster trying to emulate Asif Masood's action and really this was the reason the fast bowling became popular in Pakistan. Asif's run up was really very stylish, his famous step back at the start of his run up looked so stylish and it made almost every one in Pakistan copy it. In my openion it was only due to the successes that Asif, Sarfaraz and the Imran who brought in to the Pakistan cricket was the main reason and will remain so for a long long time these 3 followed by the 2 WW's will be the role model for Pakistan's nursarries of fast bowling.

  • Marcus on July 31, 2007, 5:34 GMT

    Javed A. Khan

    I read that piece about why Sobers was selected as the greatest allrounder, and I don't see that the reasoning was "absolutely absurd and ridiculous." A large part of Sobers' greatness comes from his versatility as a bowler, and there's nothing wrong with pointing that out. However, that's just my opinion, and there's also a good case for Imran Khan as being the greatest.

    Just one problem I have with your logic- that somehow the panel had to base it's decision on popular opinion. For one thing, Wasim Akram's selection as No. 3 makes me wonder how many Pakistani voters voted for neither Wasim OR Imran. But however the final vote came about, the panel themselves still should be able to select whoever they want, for whatever reason they decide, regardless of whether it's the popular choice or not.

  • Rahul on July 30, 2007, 23:05 GMT

    Mr. Khan, i think more than the "indian media's reluctance to view things with an impartial perspective..", it is the reluctance of some posters to view things with an impartial perspective. I think no media person irrespective of which country he is from can ever view things from an impartial perspective, no matter how unbiased he may seem. An example of the same can be read in today's article "A vaughan mastercalss in vain " wherein the writer does not mention the LBW decision which went in favour or baughan or the number of times he played and missed zaheer khan's swingers in the first session, but goes on to read "In the end, it was bad luck - nothing less - that truncated the masterclass, as Vaughan stepped across to a leg-side delivery, deflecting the ball off the underside of his thigh-pad so that it jagged back and across into his stumps. " Now here in the article is it mentioned thatit was good luck that helped vaughan ride to a century today.And i guess it is the same"impartial perspective" that grips some of the posters on this board, when an writer writes about the "error that robbed tendulkar of a century" but also has a "partial perspective" to suggest that tendulkar's 90 was a battling effort and that he struggled against sidebottom. But alas, that bit of information or perspective is not read by the "coloured" eyes of some posters.

  • noor on July 30, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    I thought Mohammad Asif was an inteligent young man, turns out to be another joker the Pakistan's cricket has produced. Inzaman, Mianadad, Younis Khan and the king the jokers, Sarfraz Nawaz. Pakistan produces so many jokers maybe what we need are jokers on the field and hope the opposition laugh themself into defeat.

    Why dont the Pakistani cricketers concentrate on cricket rather than religion, diets and moaning about bad umpiring.

    Last year we saw in England, Pakistan once again at the centre of international incident. India playing England and quite a few decisions went against them but the Indian accepted the umpire decision gracefully and played on. A lesson to be learnt from the Indian.

    Why Pakistan is the only criket nation in the world that always as a problem with umpires. Other nation complains about bad umpiring but without making a big crisis out of it.

    Watching Pakistani playing in England last year with some of the Pakistani players looking more like mullahs than cricketers from Pakistan.

    Religion is an individual and a personal matter between the maker and oneself. Pakistan's cricket can only go forward by not bringing religion into the feild. I hope PCB does not encourage players praying on the plane's asile or on a cricket ground.

  • WASIM SAQIB on July 30, 2007, 20:22 GMT

    Role models may inspire youngsters to develop a desire to follow on the footsteps of their role models but to actually achieve success in becoming like their role models they need mentors at some stage, a kid inspired by Wasim or Waqar can only emulate their action to an extent, but that is just the beginning unless someone possesses some rare natural talent only then they can progress on their own just like Waqar Younis, everybody else needs a mentor or coach in order to become a true fast bowler as to gain those extra two yards you need to have a perfect & rythmic run up, the slightest mistake in the run up or the action will result in failure, these things only a mentor can observe and correct.

    Luckily for Pakistan we always had good fast bowlers who were keen to train the youngsters unlike India where besides Kapil and Srinath they don't have many fast bowlers who can help youngsters, although India developed a pace academy under Dennis lillee and most of the current crop of fast bowlers are produced or fine tuned there. I don’t buy that Diet theory as a lot of legal dietary supplements are available to a modern day athlete but I do agree with Eamiran to some extent that genetics is playing a key role in India's lagging behind in the fast bowling department but then again India is a huge and genetically diversified country its mind boggling that they have not produced even a single express fast bowler in so many years, maybe all the factors are contributing to it.

    If we look at West Indies they have a lot of Role models/mentors available for youngsters they are genetically strong Diet is also not a problem, their decline in the fast bowling department is merely because the new generation is more inclined toward other sports, i.e. basketball etc and they also lack a modern coaching system. Australia has the best system they have the role models and they have the most advanced coaching system amongst all the cricket playing nations their pitches are also conducive for fast bowling that is why they are consistently producing quality fast bowlers.

    Some guys suggested that tape ball cricket is also helping Pakistan to produce fast bowlers, I disagree with this notion and truly believe that tape ball cricket is destroying our cricket especially batting. A tape ball bowler can never bowl at the same speed if he is given a hard ball, the technique to swing the tape ball and a hard ball is also entirely different, tape ball bowlers when they move the ball they usually use the finger spin technique which is almost impossible to use with the hard ball at a high speed. I also strongly believe that the tradition of fast bowling will die in Pakistan if PCB does not starts a Pace academy and employs the former greats in it, it happened with squash and can happen to cricket too.

  • Saima Khan on July 30, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    Here is another merit fault is Pakistan cricket. This young man performing very well in domestic with under 19 from last four years. he is a opener same town as Saeed Anwar, Rashid Latif, Asim Kamal, Kahalid Latif etc Malir, Karachi.

    PCB tried so many openers in last five years but none of them is consistent against good bowling.

    Now this young man Kurrum scored against Pakistan team (PUNJAB pace attack) but why he was ignored.

    PCB should choose Khurrum Manzoor as an opener in the 20/20 world cup. Give him chance as like Salamn Butt, Imran Nazir, Mohd Hafeez not like Hasan Raza, Asim Kamal & other cricketrs from Karachi.

    Read his another achivement

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/07/30/spt6.htm

    Saima Khan Islamabad

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on July 29, 2007, 15:21 GMT

    By highlighting Kapil Dev's achievements I can see that I have stirred a few sentiments here 'coz people are now trying to rub him down on the basis of his looks by comparing him with Imran Khan. Come on, we all know that Imran was a heartthrob and he still is very handsome, but lets not be so trivial, lets be fair in giving Kapil his due as a player. Imran's rubbing the red cherry on his groin was highly criticized and objected by the Mullahs, particularly by Dr. Israr Ahmad that it is very inappropriate, provocative and seductive for females watching cricket on TV. By rekindling this old hot topic and by bringing this subject on to the front burners by our most Resourceful & Eucephul colleague Mr. Ahmad, who has added his big fat triple chin smile on his face after that comment and, expecting a response, is nothing but a 'chaska.'

    The fact is Imran Khan being a heartthrob and a hero cannot be denied and not only among Pakistanis but he is admired by people from different nationalities all over the world. Here is a proof of how people rated him as their favourite hero. Check out this link below and see for yourself the results of more than 10,000 readers who voted on cricinfo.

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/story/292544.html

    As you can see Imran Khan is head & shoulders above the rest, he got 37% of the votes and only 11% voted for Kapil. Interestingly the cricinfo panel led by Mr. Sambit Bal from India, choose Sir Garry Sobers as the greatest all-rounder, who got only 14% of the votes. What is the reason? How come the panel decided against the public opinion? The reasoning and the justification in that article is absolutely absurd and ridiculous. The important point that's been overlooked by the panel is, Imran Khan is not only a great bowler and a batsman but, he is a shrewed and a very successful captain. He deosn't need the titles of Knighthood or prefix of a "SIR" or whatever. Like Osman Ali Khairi pointed out " the Indian media’s reluctance to view things with an impartial perspective....." he is right on dot. They never miss an opportunity in writing or highlighting the so-called injustice against their players. An example which is still on the front page of cricinfo is, Aakash Chopra's "A tale of two lbws" and the current headline after Tendulkar's new LBW decision reads like this, 'Error robs Tendulkar of his hundred' and now Ganguly's controversial caught behind decision is going to create a much bigger furore from the media. How many sports journalists from Pakistani origin are there on cricinfo apart from Kamran Abbassi and Osman Samiuddin? And what do the Pakistani readers do? They simply love to criticize them and sometimes even abuse them with rude words and still their posts get published here on this blog "Pak Spin" which is the best and the most popular blog.

  • Ahmed Siddiqui on July 29, 2007, 10:38 GMT

    Dear Kamran, A very interesting and sensitive thread to absorb...a whole generation got influenced and inspired by Imran and his perfect run up.....I guess everyone especially the young cricketers wanted to emulate Imran....not only in Pakisatan but worldwide....Waqar and Wasim were perhaps the perfect proteges....both admitted the great influence Imran had on their earlier careers.....Waseem even admitted that he improved as a bowler with Imran's help....so role models are definately there and hence the inclination goes toward the influence...Pakistan had a few great bowlers who never got an oppurtunity to play due the long careers of waqar and Wasim...but the setiment gets carried foreward when one has the grooming needed to improve and the torch needs to be carried on.....like the saying a candle never looses light by lighting another candle......I guess what is needed is an academy where this raw talent is harnessed....the differnce between a raw quick bowler and a coached and councelled bowler can be seen...Aquib improved with Imran and Wasim's role modeling.....so I guess if one gets inspired by Shoaib or Asif then I guess there is nothing wrong with that.....and coparisons will always be made...for generations to come....

  • Muhammad Asif on July 29, 2007, 3:53 GMT

    "Kapil Dev was a genuine fast bowler" forced me to say a few words in respect of the biggest Role Model Theory Promoter/ Fan. If I can recall correctly Kapil was just a mediocre fast-medium bowler and about the depth of his bowling one can have a look at his bowling record both in Test matches & in ODI. He has taken 10 or more wickest per test match only 2 times out of 131 Tests & 4 or more wickets per ODI only 3 times out of 225 ODIs. What a Quality fast bowler you have selected......If Kapil is Genuine Fast bowler then what you would call Malcolm Marshall.....

  • EAMIRAN on July 29, 2007, 2:28 GMT

    Javed A. Khan

    While I have already written in my previous post that Northern Pakistan is blessed with the natural genetic material essential for fast bowlers, I haven't exactly said what those traits might be. As usual you have jumped into the melee, frothing vitriolic (please look that up in the dictionary and pretend you know the word by giving me it's definition in your riposte). While being tall helps to some degree, being large and overly muscular does not i.e; a weight lifter is not going to run a 10 second sprint and a sprinter will not press massive amounts of weight over his/her head. IMO and the opinion of many other experts the most important genetic trait for a fast bowler, or for that matter any elite athlete, is the abundance of fast twitch fibers in key areas of the body. You might be an Alam Channa but if those fibers are not present, you are going to move like a sloth. Unfortunately the magic people speak of lies in our genes, and not necessarily on one particular body type.

    This is an article on fast bowlers who have bowled 90mph+ consistently over a long period of time, so lets not bring in Umar Gul, Zakir Khan, the exploits of Kapil Dev (Imran was a better batsmen - look at the stats!), or your beloved Shahid Afridi into the picture. And just so you don't think I am being biased, we will remove Asif from that list as he is, after all, a medium pacer. So here is a list of Pakistan's fastest bowlers and the provinces they hail from. The list includes names of those who qualify on speed alone. These may or may not be quality, or even very successful bowlers, although most are:

    Punjab (somewhat in chronological order): Imran Khan (Mianwali is technically in the Punjab and he is a Lahori!), Mohsin Kamal, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mohammed Zahid (hailed by Lara as the fastest bowler he had faced during a Carlton and United Series tri-series in Australia; which incidentally Pakistan won) and Shoaib Akhtar.

    NWFP: Imran Khan again (just being generous to our Pashtun bretheren, even though it is a little like claiming Northern Pakistanis are Greeks just because Alexander came through in 300 BC or thereabouts, which is obviously preposterous).

    Rest of Pakistan (RoP): Mohammed Sami

    Points Tally

    Punjab:6 NWFP: (1) RoP: 1

    You should also read the tail end of my previous piece. Athletes who have in the past, and who are currently dominating the world of sports in general are of African origin. Nobody can argue with that. Explosive movements require fast twitch fibers and that is something you are born with. In summation, genetics makes you a fast bowler whether you like it or not. Hard work, intelligent training, and diet may make you a great fast bowler.

    Finally, on the subject of patkas and helmets, maybe you wore batting helmets bowling in your pomp, but I must admit I have never seen anyone else do it. Were you protecting yourself from Viv Richard's lofted straight drive? Did it help?

    P.S. Eagerly awaiting your juvenile riposte.

  • Tazz on July 28, 2007, 23:25 GMT

    Please dont put wrong information on here. "Mr Abdul Waheed - USA "Kapil Dev's Family is from Rawalpindi and not near Sahiwal. His father was a Timber Merchant in Rawalpindi.

  • Sakul Gupta, Jammu Tawi, Cork on July 28, 2007, 23:16 GMT

    I was in the US for some months, some months ago. Saw first hand the probable effect of having a decent minimum-wage. One observation was that folks who aren't even in white collar jobs, can afford 2 big cars, a Rs 4 lakh(erstwhile $8000) fuel guzzeling bikes. So those guys, in the Westen world, have most of the materialistic things imaginable available/made available to them. Built they have. Then for WINNING it all comes down to to having the Zeal to win, the passion. In-born Charisma, 'magic in the eyes, goodness' also helps. & I guess if we have these, then coupling these with good training, apt diet; fast bowling will always be done. It has to do more with the mind-set. I guess, we in teh sub-continent, have many other things to worry first, getting a decent meal for the family, I guess always comes first than other things. Then one can give time to Cricket, & there only those would excel who have the die-hard, & learning attitude. I feel Cricket is instantly gratigying, It's a great joy that comes after bowling that worthy yorker or short ball. Then one point I want to stress upon is the passion in teh officials, at the helm of affairs at all levels of the game. Only those people should be given the job who are passionate about their job. They should spot talent & then without any damn bias proceed to nurture the talent for the game. Jasba-e-Junoon.

  • Sakul Gupta, Jammu Tawi, Cork on July 28, 2007, 22:15 GMT

    I think IT'S ONLY LOVE, THAT'S ALL. Love, Passion, Die Hard attitude to Win. learn & improve makes one ball specially fast & also render the 'Gend' a worthy Spin. Diet, is surely a big factor. One may have all motivation, reasons to go out & bowl, prove it.., physical built would add a lot of bite to it. After eating Meat, lamb, I too feel with a lot of energy the next morning, not so much with a veggie diet. Even though a veggie diet seems to give sobering feeling. I guess they say in Indian(Hindu) mythology that meat gives aggressive-anger filled energy(so the God's had only fruits, vegetables,..), An energetic diet & Then work-out in the Gym to utilize this energy & then with a foucssed mind on the field one can surely bowl fast & good. Role models do help a lot. At the least they show the things that already work, e.g. the inswinging ot out-swinging yorker, taht we can then try to master. So I think, it's a combination of all these factors, & not just one. But it has to do a lot with teh mind-set. One might be able to bowl that accurate yorker or that wicket taking fast bouncer only with a focused mind. & that mind may be in anyone in NWFP of anywhere. There is some in-born charisma, the magic in the eyes, the will to just do it too that gets us there. Some how I feel, one should give time to playing cricket too, the desk job, should not be teh only thing. Say, The talk specially of having 50,000 paid cricketers in India by the BCCI, would be a good motivation to give more time to Cricket in addition to the desk-job(say Software development).

  • Abdul Waheed - USA on July 28, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    Mr. Abbassi,

    Being a doctor, I am sure you know what you are talking about. However, how would you explain the fact that the bulk of notable and reputable fast bowlers who sustained the rigors of International cricket, overwhelming come from Punjab? If role model and culture alone being the criteria how come other regions of Indo Pak have not produced no where as many fast bowlers compared to the Province of Punjab alone? From Khan Mohammad, Mahmood Huddain,Fazal Mahmood, Sarfraz, Asif Masood, Saleem Altaf, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis,Shoib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif all hail from Punjab province. Even Sami has roots in punjab. Mind you Kapil Dev, India's Best serving Pace Bowling allrounder has roots in what is now called Sahiwal.

  • Rahul on July 28, 2007, 18:56 GMT

    Interesting article, but more than the role model theory, i think its more the attitude and culture theory. Indians on an average are lazy people and shun physical work..thats why when you have kids playing cricket in india, they prefer to bat as it helps in doing minimal physical work. Even in batiing, indians try to score runs through boundaries then nudge around for ones and twos. As fast bowling is very demanding and physical, indians tend to avoid taking upto fat bowling even as kids, and would prefer spin bowling or batting. Hence, Indians have been able to produce some great spinners and batsman over the time but hardly any fast bowlers. While most of the fast bowler that pakistan has produced come from the state of Punjab, which has historically been an agricultural state and agriculture requires high amount of physical work. And as fast bowling is demanding and requires high amount of physical work,pakistan have had resources who are ready to put in the amount and effort required, which has resulted i pakistan having world class bowlers like Imran, Akram , Younis etc. Though my theory may not be right, however, it points out that apart from role models, the culture and society of respective countries or states within that countries have also influenced the development or non- development of fast bowlers.

  • Tazz on July 28, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Sarfraz Nawaz's name is coming up as Pakistan's leading Fast bowler, I must add that in 1979 fast bowling competition Sarfraz nawaz Averages aroun 120khm , about 74-75mph , So please dont call him fast, although he was a smart medium pacer. Before Imran Khan, It was Fazal Mehmood who was the best Pakistani Fast bowler, with 4 10 wicket hawls against 4 different countries. People here are mistaken by saying Pakistanis and Indians have same genetic compositions, which is terribly wrong. Northern Pakistan was never part of India, people are of Paskhtoon and Persian origin. Mr Karman Abbasi's tribe "Abbasi" is of Mid Eastern origin .

  • Euceph Ahmed on July 28, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    LOL... Thank you Osman Ali Khairi for writing a little crackler of a piece there putting things in some perspective. I would only like to add Hanif Mohammad and Saeed Anwar to your list. Also, I would like to note that in terms of innovation and advancement, India has offered little to the game of cricket. Pakistan, on the other hand, can boast of several major and a myriad minor contributions to the game. Javed Miandad for one, was not a mere run-making machine like Gavaskar. He brought an entirely different mindset to the game which has changed the game forever. From neutral umpires to reverse swing to Abdul Qadir (a phenomenon in himself) to the "doosra", Pakistan's contributions to the game are too many to compare with India. Then, let's be honest... in looks alone, Imran Khan (and generally the whole Pakistan team historically) was way far ahead of Kapil and company and whatever else India has offered. Imran rubbing that ball in that groin area of his was a spectacle in itself yet to be matched by any one :) :) :) Say what you?

    This brings me to the interesting topic of the importance of looks in fast bowling and to the hilarious yet thought-provoking post by EAMIRAN at July 28, 2007 12:22 AM. Just as any other field, fast bowling has its own prerequisites. Any one from any geographic locality can fulfill those prerequisites. Being vegan and practicing Ahimsa, while excellent traits for a wily politician, are certainly not those characterstics that are required for fast bowling. A fast bowler is a tiger stalking his prey at every run up. A certain physique, a certain mindset and a certain body language is required for that tiger like attitude. All of these traits must come together in a fast bowler. Being mostly North Indians, Pakistanis have a definite edge there. As EAMIRAN points out you can eat all you want but a 5' 2" torso just won't get you there. Mohammad Sami has everything but lacks that killer instinct which hasn't helped his cause at all.

    As for Kamran Abbasi's theory of role models, I have to (yet again) take it with a few hiccups. The underlying presumption in his hypothesis is that India and Pakistan, and any other countries for that matter, are boxed securely within their borders with no influences from elsewhere. One look at your TV screen should toss that theory out the window. Indian role models have an effect on the people of Pakistan and so do the Pakistani role models on Indian people. True role models transcend national boundaries. Mohammad Asif's role models, as we all know, are Glen McGrath and Shaun Pollock and not necessarily Wasim, Waqar or Imran. Irfan Pathan has not only been deeply influenced by Wasim Akram but also coached by him. Michael Holding was a deep influence on a whole generation of fast bowlers including some of our very own. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that you don't necessarily need national role models so this theory of the role of role models seems to be flawed to me.

    Finally, just for kicks a note to Jaidee Bhaiyya of Pind Montreal, Moza Quebec, Thana Canada. Your yorker on the land of lassi didn't exactly land on the toe to stir up a new debate as you usually attempt so I just thought I'll say Adaab because it's been quite a while. Main nay kaha pehelwaan ji mausam shausam tu theek hay na? Paa ji...

  • afzaal on July 28, 2007, 16:08 GMT

    quote:Kamran jee, I am from India and I have a altogether different explanation for the lack of good fast bowlers in India. Everyone here wants to be a batsman. I remember in my school days, whenever we played cricket, the toss winning captain always chose the 'Batting First' option. It was quite common that after the first inning, play would get abondoned due to some minor issues and the 'Bowling First' team would not get a chance to bat. This often used to lead to verbal fights. The psychological thought in India even among the kids is that batting is higher art compared to bowling{end} u nailed it buddy

  • Zain on July 28, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    This time Mr Abbasi comes up with a totally new observation which is interesting.

    1st of all the most important thing about that article is that up till now majority of the people comes up with the same "i totally agree" "well said" " valid point" " i agreee kamran" etc, and if iam not wrong this is the highest no of head nods (so far)on this blog. iam not saying that they don’t have the right to agree with him, but, the fact reveals that, this has always been an easy way of showing your interest towards the written article without understanding or reading it perfectly. As Mr. Javed khan rightly coded “fools seldom disagree". i won't mind if javed bhai further add to this.

    Coming back to square one, my simple point is that what mr kamran said is all revolves around “Inspiration". and inspiration always comes when you have role models or legendry players. to be very honest India doesn't have any inspiration in fast bowling apart from kapil dev, (he too possessed speed round 85 miles, but a wonderful smart thinking bowler). Saying agarkar a fast bowler, that’s humiliation of fast bowling..!

    Luckily Pakistan has got role models in both fields and I can guarantee you that in future you will find majority of upcoming players declaring shoaib and asif as role models not imran and sarfaraz.

    finally about diet is concerned, i still remember Amir sohail once made a fair comment on that why Indians don’t have genuine fast bowlers his answer was " I’ve listen so many people saying that Pakistan produces good fast bowlers bcoz of their punjabi culture all the "lassis" much water, and "desi eggs" that’s exist over there, its wrong, when it comes to diet the most important thing which Indians don’t have( prohibited) is the "meat" which is not allowed in their religion. Because it is the most vital thing in developing the human body especially arms”.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on July 28, 2007, 15:00 GMT

    Once again it is very interesting to read how some of the bloggers blab & boast about the fertile land of Punjab. If diet is the criteria, then there are many countries whose dietary plans are much better than Pakistanis or more precisely than Punjabis. If a strong built is the other criteria i.e., from genetics point of view, then the "average" white Caucasian race and the black African race has better, bigger and stronger built than the Punjabis. One can see the descendants of Alexander the Great's Caucasian race in the NWFP and in tribal areas of Pakistan and they are bigger and stronger than the Punjabis. And from genetics point of view Imran Khan is not a Punjo but, a Pathan whose family settled in Lahore. Umar Gul is a Pathan and he is a faster bowler than Asif and he has also taken more wickets than Asif. There is Zakir Khan too from the NWFP, now a PCB official, he wasn't very successful as a player, but he is tall, strong and a genuine fast bowler but, he lacked in variety and failed. I pity those puns who love to build only muscles and have fewer brain cells yet they talk with so much authority and confidence, it only shows their ignorance and highlight their pain do ism. And, Arif you are one of them like Pra Muhammad Asaf the blogger says: others can do nothing but get "gelus." And "I am agree" with him.

    I have agreed with the views of Mr. Abbassi in my previous post and concurred by adding that its also owing to the inspiration and motivation and 'coz of idolizing and emulating their heroes. I have also agreed with him that fast bowling is a cultural thing but, I cannot agree with him or with others on everything for which I have a different opinion. IMO, one of the reasons the Indians did not produce too many fast bowlers is not because of diet or built, but 'coz of the conditions of the dead and docile pitches and it was extremely hard and not so productive for a fast bowler to be able to succeed, hence tall and well built players like, Ravi Shastri wouldn't have opted for spin bowling. Its only very recently that we see the emphasis is so much on pitches i.e., to standardize them or make them at par with Australia, SA and WI and to prepare them by curators from different countries. And that is why we see there is a Paradigm Shift in the Indian bowling department and the emergence of their new fast bowlers. More than the tape ball theory that is being talked about here, its also due to the cemented pitches in Pakistan that encouraged fast bowling. So, once again its the playing conditions that matters in choosing options i.e., to bowl or bat and to bowl fast or to go for spin.

    Therefore, the notion of diet, genes or the water of Punjab is the reason Pakistan or Punjab has produced more fast bowlers than India is nothing but crap-trap. Here, people are constantly ignoring one of the greatest all rounders of cricket i.e., Kapil Dev and, I want to ask how many Pakistani bowlers have taken 434 wickets and scored more than 5000 runs in test cricket? There are very few people in the world who have achieved this feat. Similarly, Shahid Afridi's 5000 runs and 200 wickets in ODI is a rare feat achieved by only two people in the world i.e., Jayasuriya and Jacques Kallis. Afridi could have easily opted to bowl fast, but he opted for spin bowling not because he has any physical short comings or he is not strong but, he thinks thats his strength.

    Kapil Dev was a genuine fast bowler and during his youth he used to bowl huge outswingers and, as he matured he added variety into his bowling just like Imran Khan did, in fact Kapil Dev has admitted in one of his TV interviews that he learned a lot by observing Imran's bowling. Imran's shin injury kept him away from fast bowling for 3 years during his peak otherwise he would have taken more wickets, but he was definitely faster and better than Kapil. However, Kapil's batting was superior than Imran and he has won so many matches singlehandedly for India with his bat, including the 1983 World Cup. He was from Haryana and that is in India, right? EAMIRAN's notion that Sikhs cannot bowl fast with their Turbon on is simply absurd, its like saying people cannot bat with their helmets on. The kinda head gear Harbhajan Singh or Monty Panesar wears is nothing but a single sheet of cloth just a little bigger than a handkerchief. Perhaps Eamiran has not heard of Milkha Singh, he was known as the "Flying Sikh" he was Asia's fastest sprinter of his time. Its a shame that after clocking a world record in the preliminaries of 400 meters, he finished 4th in the final at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

    For a fast bowler, the main thing is not just the speed, its the variety, the technique, his emotions and temperament and his ability to spot the weakness of a batsman and to exploit it, that is more important than speed. There was a time when genuine fast bowling was meant to intimidate and soften up the batsmen but, with so many protective gears even small or short players like, Tendulkar and Sehwag proved in the previous World Cup in SA that they are not afraid of Shoaib's express speed and slammed him for sixes and gave India a flying start and that sealed the match in their favour. Instead of simply bragging and boasting about speed, people should talk about quality fast bowling and I think that was the point that Kamran Abbassi tried to highlight about Imran Khan's post Packer era, after that he definitely improved a lot and he became a role model and a motivator for fast bowling in Pakistan.

  • ROOK STAR on July 28, 2007, 10:14 GMT

    Interesting piece of information. However, as far as being a role model's concern, weren't Wasim & Waqar both caught up with some canabis incident back in the early-mid 90s during the West Indies tour? Seems like people like to have selected amnesia..lol!

    Shoaib Akhtar & Muhmammed Asif will be still be role models no matter what. Hell, I guess it doesn't matter these days just as long as the new crop of generation extract their skills!

  • Zohair on July 28, 2007, 9:16 GMT

    the role model theory really doesn't work fit here.. you can really make anyone your model when you re playing cricket, it really doesn't matter which country the person is from.. secondly, if there wasnt anyone fore sarfraz nawaz and imran then how come they decided to become bowlers.. doesn't make sense...

    I've lived in india for awhile.. i agree that Indians tend to focus more on batting but that cant be it.. diet probabally has to play a big role.. indians tend to have more of the vegetarian diet, we consider chicken to be vegeterian.. and also teh style of cricket perhaps alos plays a part.. we play with the tape ball in the streets.. havent heard of indians doing that.. stuff like this.. Role models cant be teh reason

  • Chaks on July 28, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    Shoib Akhtar is THE MAN WITH A DEFINITE PUNCH !!! He's the best ! Budding fast bowlers in India must emulate Shoib from the current lot and Wasim from the previous generation of great fast bowlers. As far as Imran is concerned, I think he's a great leader and thinker of the game but his bowling skills are a shade below Shoib and Wasim. Indian fast bowlers are often effective but somehow they don't give the feeling of being a genuine fast bowler. But as far as batting is concerned there's absolutely no match for Sachin. Inzamam and Yousuf with all their elegance and flair are definitely far behind Sachin.

  • Hello!!! on July 28, 2007, 8:33 GMT

    What about "Mohammed Sami"... He is a genuine fast bowler... isn't he, where does he come from???

  • Shahzad Arif on July 28, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Mr. Naeem Pathan I think you got carried over with what you've said! So you're basically saying that even though there's better talent in the rest of the Pakistan except Punjab but they never get picked up. Let me remind you Afridi, Younis Khan and Umar Gul are three Pathans who're currently playing in the Pakistan cricket team. Do you expect all 11 players who to from NWFP? If you were as good as Gul then I'm sure you must have been picked up. Its about time you realised that. Javed A. Another ridiculously long posting from you. IMO you should write English literature becuase you always *try* to use plenty of vocabulary in your posts but they never make sense or are never to the point. You just love to disagree with Kamran one way or the other! I totally agree the matter of the fact Pakistan is producing so many good fast bowlers is because of the *role-models*, which is the same with India but their role-models are batsmen like Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Ganguly etc..

  • Umair Muzaffar on July 28, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    Punjab and Fast Bowlers!!! It is actually true that Punjab has produced most of Pakistan fast bowlers. The reality is that Pakistan is over 60% of Pakistani population so there are bound to be more or everything from Punjab.

  • Sai Prakash on July 28, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    You seem to have touched a very sensitive issue, Kamran but it is a lot fun reading the comments.Frankly I think Wasim and Waqar were the last GREAT fast bowlers Pakistan produced. Shoaib has a questionable action and Asif is just medium pace, though he is a great Swing bowler.WW had clean actions and were genuinely quick and match winners.It was fascinating watching Wasim bowling to Sachin in the Chennai Test, both in their prime then.Whew!Coming to the point of Pak producing fast bowlers more frequently, one is Pakistanis are aggressive by nature and you need to be aggressive to bowl fast, secondly we have not had a ROLE model.Another reason is the system in India. I remember when Munaf Patel started out, he was consistently and easily bowling 145+ kmph. The same goes for Zaheer and Agarkar, but now they are all struggling to touch 140 kmph??? See, it is not only Fast bowlers which have dried up in India (Sree Sant being an exception) but where are the spinners? After Kumble, WHO? India has always produced and worshipped their Batters, right from Ranjitsinhji, C.K.Nayudu, Pataudi, Gavasker, Tendulkar, Dravid and now, Sehwag though he has been dropped recently. Who speaks about bowlers except Kapil because he became the World's highest wicket taker at one time. Does anyone know or care that Anil Kumble has 556 wickets as of now. But where are the sponsore,where is the hero worship. So, if there is no Hero Worship, where is the catalyst to become a Bowler, Pace or Spin.Sad but TRUE.

  • WASIM SAQIB on July 28, 2007, 5:54 GMT

    Punjab is not the only place in Pakistan where people are tall and physically strong, people in the tribal areas are very strong, people in the interior Sind are generally the tallest out of the whole pakistan but unfortunately due to cultural inclinations,backwardness and lack of facilities people from these areas do not rise up to their potential,if the game is promoted in these remote areas especially in the tribal areas I'm sure we can get fast bowlers in future from these areas. I think the local governments of these areas are responsible for the deplorable condition of sports infrastructure in these areas recently we all saw the condition of Niaz stadium in hyderabad it was pathetic. People like Gulab Khan on this blog if they spend more time in criticizing their local governments it would be more fruitful for them. I think most of us have been a little too harsh on Asif he is good bowler and will go a long way those who do not see his potential I am sorry to say know nothing about fast bowling. The most hilarious post came from Mr Naeem I couldn't help but laugh he bowled 25 overs on a hot hot day in a camp (in front of PCB chairman) alongwith three of his friends and he clocked 88-91 miles through out, there were other guys too and Mr naeem and company were the Pick of the bunch,what Naeem forgot to mention is that "finally he woke Up".

  • shwet awasthi on July 28, 2007, 5:45 GMT

    Well said Mr. Abbassi!. I must congratulate you on this article as it is far removed from bombastic assertions, from even educated Pakistani commentators about diet being the reason Pakistan produces more fast bowlers. If that be the reason than let me make it very clear that Asians and that includes Pakistanis and Indians can never have the same build as caucasians. This is something which is a genetic trait. Both Indians and Pakistanis are from the same genetic stock and their muscle development , height, weight are greatly similiar. Pakistan for a long time had good fast bowlers greater than those of England and Australia and who can dispute that people from both Australia and England are Physically more robust just look at their teams and the average height alone would be more than six feet.The reason was good role models , everyone wanted to be an Imran or Wasim.

    Also regarding diet , anyone boasting about the diet of Pakistan's Punjab should come over to the Indian side and see that in almost all the lush green fields of Punjab you will find corn and milk fed young Jats and Sikhs some as tall as 6 feet 6 Inches. Cricket is not very popular there and hence probably no one wants to bowl fast.Bhupinder singh Sr had once lamented that such a strong breed would be an ideal hunting ground for fast bowlers but his plea is not heard by the money mongering BCCI. Also if the Pakistanis boast so much about Physique why are they not good in wrestling where India is far ahead of them or take other sports where India still finishes among the top ten nations in Asia and Pakistan is nowhere to be seen. Has anyone seen Dileep singh Rana known as the 'Great Khalli' from Himachal Pradesh currently wrestling in WWE . He stands 7 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 200 Kilos of muscle , he also comes from India so I guess time has come to put a lid on these puerile assumptions on physical superiority . Anyaway for the record Asif is certainly a great in the making but remember he is not a typical pakistani tearaway. For that matter Sreesanth bowls much quicker than Asif and even touched 92 MPH in the recent lords test, so please I would urge everyone to stop jingoism and be practical in their approach.

  • Pramod_India on July 28, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    Yes, I agree with your comments about role model. If you analyze Pakistani cricket, you will see that after the great Hanif sir who is essentially a medium pacer there was hardly any boweler worth mentioning and some great batsmen of their times like Majid khan, Asif Iqbal etc. started their carrers as opening bowelers before concentrating on batting. Imran too started the same. He wanted to be a batsmen and discovered he could bowl well and to his great credit transformed himself from essentially a medium pacer to a great fast boweler and he with his exploits and lifestyle inspired a generation of fast bowlers and it is his legacy that Pakistan is still enjoying now. But, before I end I would like to add a note of caution. Do not take for granted this will last foreever. See, when West Indies were the most dominant cricketing nation in the 70s and 80s, they produced a battery of high quality fast bowlers and also the fasted bowelers of their times. People like Holding, Marshall, Patterson, Bishop. They were the fastest bowlers of their times. Then there was a theory going around that negroes being a phsyically superior race, this factory will continue to produce high quality fast men forever and they were complacent and did not get the infrastructure required to produce the next generation fast bowlers. See where they are now? Already, I think Pakistan lost a great opportunity to dominate world cricket because of their infighting and selfishness of players and lunacy of administrators. If you look at the quality of players they had Wasim, Waqar, Mustaq, Saqlain, Inzy, Salim Malik etc. they should have dominated the world cricket instead of Australia, but sadly they blew it. So, do not think that these paceman will continue to come because of their diet blah blah... By the way what I think that Pakistani team lacked was a captain of Imran's caliber and that goes for the theory captain is as good as his team. Signing off.

  • Mohamed Admani on July 28, 2007, 4:40 GMT

    It is true Pakistan has more to offer on the basis of role models in form of fast bowlers. However there are other situations which also contribute to this factor and diet is one of them. Another one to mention is Tape Ball Cricket whereby you achieve nothing with spin. Indians are generally known to be good players of spin (especially off-spin) this is due to children, pre-teens etc all bowling spin to batsman in cramped spaces i.e. between streets. How you play your game is dependant on how you grew up (values, traditions etc.) This is again reflected to Australians and their strength against the short ball, primarily due to the fast and bouncy tracks of Australia contrary to a few sub-continent players where pitches are regarded to be “slow and low”.

    In England when I played cricket at school, college and in university there was a desire by all bowlers to bowl fast or at least fat-medium in nets. I must say I was the odd one out bowling leg-spinners but that was my unique ability. Again, I also was guilty of trying to be a fast bowler until one day I discovered I could really turn the ball and thereby generating interest in spin. Again this reflects to International Cricket whereby England has consistently produced great fast bowlers but has lacked in the spin department for at least 3 decades. Now with Panesar spin is being regarded important in England and many youngsters try to emulate their heroes.

    On a further note i must add Asif is an excellent bowler with great potential however, he should really be concerned with the state of Pakistan Cricket and improving it rather than comparisons.

  • Tauseef Satti on July 28, 2007, 0:38 GMT

    Having played in Pakistan at domestic level,and being a keen student of history, following are my findings. 1) Other than Imran Khan (whos is of Persian origin, Genectically he aint a punjabi), Pakistan never produced a Fast bowler , till emergence of Mohsin Kamal and Wasim Akram. 2)Interesting fact is there was Tape Tennis ball cricket became famous in Pakistan around early 80s, and by early 90s it was become a professional sports. That cricket must have some contribution in producing Fast bowlers with Quick arm action. As in competitive tape tennis ball cricket, you are allowed to bowl with 6-8 yard run up, and one has to have a quick arm action to generate pace (Wasim Akram would be the best Example). 3) In 2004, there was King of Speed competition at all Pakistan level. Kalique Ahmed chohan won it , he is a tennis ball bowler, who never played Hard ball cricket, untill after winning the competition. (He was clocked 140km/h). Having coached him, i can tell you, his ability to generate pace was entirely because of bowling in professional tennis ball cricket matches with short run up. Most of the finalists in King of speed competition were tennis ball cricket professionals.

    4)Diet & Genetics can be also be the factors, Karachi has produced only one genuine fast bowler in Muhammad Sami. (Majority of Karachi population consists of Immigrants from India after partition in 1947). But on the other hand, in 90% of Pakistan's test matches, Wicket keepers from Karachi Kept wickets. Imtiaz Ahmed, Wasim Bari,Taslim Arif, Saleem Yousuf, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif. So i guess, Karachi people are more Flexible than People from Punjab, whereas people from Punjab are stronger . Again it is combination of both genetics and diet.

  • EAMIRAN on July 28, 2007, 0:22 GMT

    Fast bowlers are first and foremost a product of genetics. Cultural influences, diet and hardwork are secondary influences.

    5 feet two inch hopefuls will never ever become true fast bowlers, no matter how motivated, inspired or hard they may try. They may eat steak morning, noon and night, pump themselves with as much testosterone and anabolics and it won't happen. You are either born with it or you are not. Just like most of us can never ever hope to emulate a 100m sprint in 10 seconds or under.

    Indian Punjab probably has a few potentials, but as many have said already, fast bowling is probably not encouraged as is batting or spin bowling - Bedi, Harbhajan, etc. come to mind. Besides, and I say this with no malice or facetiousness, it would be a little awkward bowling fast with a turban or a patka on ones head. Tony Greig tried it for a few hours and felt exhausted with the extra weight. Maybe that is why it is discouraged? A question for the Punjabi sikhs maybe, although I cannot think of why Punjabi Hindus might not be able to deliver the goods, as they are unencumbered with any headgear. Another factor may be that dietary habits passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years can and do change genetics. This could be a reason why there may be subtle differences between East and West Punjab. Meat eating muslims and largely vegetarian Hindus crossed an artificial line, changing irrevocably the genetic distribution of the land. Some may say it is far fetched; however I think it bears closer scrutiny. North to South and East to West, genetics across the world do change imperceptibly. In Pakistan the North Western parts are dominated by Central Asian genes while the South East by the typical Indian/sub-continental gene.

    To those who write that Kashmiri and Pathans should also be ideally suited for fast bowling but that they have yet to produce one, I submit they are and given time they will. Both areas are still way behind Karachi and Lahore in cricket development and interest. Kashmir also has a very small population compared to the rest of Pakistan, so the chances of unearthing an express bowler is remote; however a lot of Kashmiris have settled in the Punjab for many years - the Butts, Sheikhs, Wynes etc. are all of Kashmiri origin. The Butts, in particular, have dominated in many other athletic endeavours like track and field, hockey and body building etc., for a long time.

    Finally, as far as fast bowling genetics go, Carribs with African origins are the ones to beat. Some one on this blog has pointed out that the West Indies are not producing fast bowlers anymore. Although that is partially true, the simple answer is lack of interest and low population numbers. If the Carribean population was as large as India's or even ours, with half the interest, they would have at least two dozen ultra quick bowlers lined up, haunting batsmen the world over! Let's hope that does not happen.

    Now if the US ever gets interested -----

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on July 28, 2007, 0:04 GMT

    Hassan,

    I know Zaheer was born in Sialkot, but I think he learned his cricket in Karachi? I don't know to be honest but he certainly played for Karachi. Saeed Anwar is a definite example of a Punjabi Karachiite who learned his cricket in Karachi.

  • Muhammad Asif on July 27, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    Let's accept your notion that its not diet/water or milk/yogurt but the role model theory, even then definitely theres something else that works well mostly for the fast bowlers from Punjab. which needs more research...... And last but not least to prove some common notion to be wrong one should have some solid arguments in favour of the proposed theory, which certainly we are missing for the time being.

  • Worrell on July 27, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    Comming from a West-Indian background I must admit that role models are very influential. But there are so many variables. As a young man, we all tried to emulate the great fast bowlers, and I mean as early as 8 years old. Long run ups and delivering with all the strength we could muster. We all loved bowling the bouncer and enjoyed knocking batsmen over. At that age we used a variety of balls, tape balls, tennis balls, hard rubber balls etc. and truth be told to achieve high speeds and out do our colleagues we pelted that ball at great speed. So we grew up on a diet of fast bowling, putting our all into it. The strong and talented bowlers stood out and their bodies adapted to the strains of our early bowling exploits. (Apart from trinidad and Guyana would you get tall, strong lads focusing on spin bowling.) Eventually fast bowlers emerged, from all sizes and shapes. One must have that extra something to be come a pure out and out fast bowler. But a dedication to the art of fast bowling, from early age definetly produce a class bowler. Also encouragement and support from family, friends and not to leave out pitch conditions which encourages fast bowling. Some are born with it some are not. Ambrose for example started playing cricket in his late teens (18-19yrs) and immediately had bounce, pace and control, and there was no turning back.

  • Nabeel adeel on July 27, 2007, 20:35 GMT

    After the world cup debacle i had decided never to comment again but then again how long can one keep away from something one loves and especially fast bowling. Well i agree to kamran tht this so called diet difference that asif pointed to is not a solid enough reason.kamran's point about role models is important and is one of the reasons but another very crictical and big reason for pakistan producing fast bowlers is TAPE BALL CRICKET.Those of u who have played tape ball would know that the only kind of bowler tht can survive in tht game is fast bowlers.A tape ball does not turn so spin goes out of the window.So far as swing is concerned u dont get much unless u really tamper with the ball by tearing the tape apart, which obviously cannot be done.So very fast bowling is the only option and as aqib javed said somedays ago "fast bowling is a part of the psyche from a young age" and "If it isn't, then tape ball cricket ensures it eventually will be. From what i know India has alot of rubber ball cricket in which i think the ball bounes quite a bit even from medium pace.it might not encourage fast bowling as tape ball does.But as far as Pakistan is concerned i have no doubt that tape ball is one of the most important reasons why we produce fast bowlers so often.

  • Naeem on July 27, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    I CANT believe that most of these people putting the comments are agreeing with Asif's comments about Pakistan' or perhaps PUNJAB's ability to produce quality fast bowlers. I will tell you the truth, Mr. Asif. There is no special thing about Punjab, its just the population factor. Punjab has a very high population, they are perhaps more into their sport especially cricket than any other provinces. I will give you an example of where i am from. I am from NWFP, and I am a pathan. The theory is that most pathan's are strong people, and its a right theory to an extent. However, to say that due to the diet plan or the aggression that punjabi posses contribute to the history of fast bowler is bogus. I played almost all my cricket in Pakistan till I was 16 but then i moved to America and I was contantly clocked at 88-91 miles an hour. I didn't make it into the Pakistan team or any other team cricket there of. I guess I had to give it up because I took baseball, and now I am playing college baseball as a Pitcher. Playing college baseball is no joke in America. I guess my point is that I had many other friends that were as quick as I was and they tried for the under 17, under 19, and many other academies but they didn't make it. I am talking about two specific examples that didn't make it just because they were from NWFP. I remember that hot hot hot day in Lahore when I bowled almost 25 overs with my two other friends in front of General Tauqir Zia and I can assure you that we were the pick of the bunch and we didn't get selected. This is what I call Pakistan's politics and thats when i decided to screw Pakistan cricket and now I am a happier guy.

  • Deol on July 27, 2007, 20:19 GMT

    I totally disagree with the statement of India not having better fast bowlers. Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Balaji, RP Singh are without any doubt better and faster bowlers than your Umer Gul, Anjum and Rana. India has better quality bowlers than Pakistan.

  • Ravinder on July 27, 2007, 20:00 GMT

    well said, i guess people keep forgeting that there is a Punjab in India as well. People are big, tall and strongly built, but we don't have a express bowler coming out of there, just very good and strongly built batsmen (eg yuvraj). it all comes down to role models, I am an indian (from Punjab) and Shoaib Akhtar is my role model, i don't care what he is off the feild but i do know for a fact that noone wants to face him. someday i hope to bowl like him (thunderboltssssss)

  • Owais on July 27, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    Good one Kamran ! I agree with you. Its surely not about diet, it is about having role models. Very interseting comments from Javed Khan Saheb. Finally I think Mohammad Asif needs to take another 150 at least to get close to legends. He should also try to improve his maturity level cuz some of the stuff he said was bull shit.

  • Englebert on July 27, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    I dont see any Indian pacers physically built like the Pak ones (Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib)

  • Omer Admani on July 27, 2007, 18:34 GMT

    Rao Iftikar reminds me of Clark from Australia. When everybody was acclaiming Rana, I recollect Rao bowling from the other end and applying pressure, jinxed as he was, catches being dropped and umpires stealing clear outs (this was when Pakistan toured Australia). Rana, on the other hand, was, as usual, leaking runs but taking wickets because of the pressure that Rao was applying. Wickets not because of good bowling but batsmen, in one-day games, taking risk at Rana's mediocrity. As long as a few wickets were in Rana's column, people knew who was making it happen. The point being that it is not only Akhtar and Asif that we have, but also Rao and Gul. It creates a good balance, when, after including Kaneria, we will have everything in pace, swing, seam, line and length, and legspin (if they ever get to play together). The idea that Pakistani players have more role models in pace bowlers obviously plays a part. But lets not forget the ineluctibles, lets not relegate everything to cause and effect. Pakistan, simply, just produces good, fast bowlers. Neither is Shoaib Akhtar excessively tall like Harmison, nor is Asif strong like Akhtar. Waqar wasn't that big either. Sami, also, is not that big. So, to say, the physique or the diet has a lot to do with it doesn't cut it. Our fast bowlers are not big in size like Flintoff or Harmison or Nel...we just still produce good bowlers. It's magic.

  • Usman T on July 27, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    Being a good bowler and a great to a legend what lies is the mental strength backed by hard work - it has nothing to do whatsoever with water or bread. Stupid analogy and I will leave it there. Now as far as pace is concerned so Asif doesn't even have it to begin with. He is Fast-Medium with great line and length. His smart brain makes him a great bowler in controlling the swing, reading batsman and keeping his line. I’m sure Asif knows that …. I however disagree with the NOTION that Shoaib Akthar is NOT a role model. I, along with so many others believe he is one of the greatest - if not name a single bowler who can consistently bowl in upper 90s and have reached 100 twice. What’s amazing about him is the fact that every time he comes back from an injury he has not lost a single bit of his speed instead more thunder. Name another bowler who came back and still was the same? Waqar younis? You got you answer. New generation wants to be like Shoaib Akhtar …. fast & furious - the first step (mindset) towards fast bowling. Being a playboy or other non-cricket related issues has nothing to do with anyone being a role model unless you are drug addict (Maradona) or serious felony allegation (Salim Malik). What Shoaib brings is FLARE to the game - just like Imran Khan had but in a different way. Just seeing Shoaib bowl make the match whole lot of fun and to mention not go out and mimic being a shoaib akhtar. Shoiab Akhtar is an icon for future generation of fast bowlers.

  • Hassan on July 27, 2007, 18:15 GMT

    khansahab(A.A.Khan), Zaheer Abbas is from Sialkot, Punjab.

  • Shahid on July 27, 2007, 17:17 GMT

    Kamran i do agree with you to a great extent. However i think you missed a point by not mentioning the affect that tape ball has on our cricket. I am here in US and i do get to play witha lot of indian friends but they have never played with tapeball and instead they have that hard tennis ball which is really not great for bowling. Infact the first time i played with few Indians, looking at the tape ball, they were like "What is this" and then few of their bowlers got to bowl with the tape ball and one of the fellow said "now i know why Pakistan produces such good bowlers and sloggers" All other points are agreed upon.

  • Faisal NJ on July 27, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    As far as I can remember, in my high school it has been a desire for every kid – Pakistani - in my class to ball fast. The run up, the flair, the long hair jockeying with mischief, the jump, touching the skies, the delivery, the stare. It is all about machismo. An average Pakistani kid is more macho in the sense compared to an Indian kid. I was born and raised in Dubai – where you have a mixed crowd of Pakistani and Indian Kids - and trust me when I say this, that an average Pakistani kid is more aggressive, dominating, or domineering male as compared to his Indian counterpart. Not to say all Indian kids are whims, but I have seen and experienced it, just a majority of them are less aggressive. They take the non-confrontational path. I am not being biased, some of my best friends are Indians, but a fact is a fact. Batting like most people – Pakistani - who posted here was a second choice due to the fact you hated facing your Pakistani counterpart - guys jockeying with speed and menace. I remember a game where my school - St. Mary’s Catholic High School (a mixed school of Pakistanis and Indians) - bowled first (at DC cricket ground in Dubai which has become Wafi shopping complex!) and we were playing a purely Pakistani School (Pakistan Academy). All the fast bowlers in our school were Pakistani and the top order was for the most part Indian with a few slugger Pakistanis coming in the Middle order. We bowled and batted the Pakistani Academy out of the stadium. It was one of rare years when our school worked fine with each department excelling – batting and bowling. Therefore conclusion we bowl with more flare and passion because it involves more machoism. While batting is an art form where Indians because of their analytical nature excel at.

  • Khalid on July 27, 2007, 16:35 GMT

    We love to point fingers at shoaib but to me truth is he is following the Imran khan path. Playboy, love girls, parties and stuff. only differnce is media is far more aggresive toward celebrites than in Imran time. He is a lot better than Wasim and Waqar ..... who fix the matches. Is there anything worst than betraying your country? Hell no. Check out shoaib interviews ... how passionate he is about Cricket and bowling fast and destroying batting lines.

  • Faisal on July 27, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif are quality bowlers, their sheer class should inspire the upcoming bowlers. I would disagree with the responsibility part, that lies with the PCB.

  • Gulab Khan on July 27, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    Reference to the diet of the Punjab

    I think this is totally wrong assumption that only PUNJAB produces fast bowlers.

    Actually other provinces are not deal with merit. There are many good fast bowlers come in our first class cricket but never got chance in international cricket or less chance.

    In past there was a fast bowler with the name Atiq-ur-Rehman. When Dennis Lillie saw him, he said, his speed is same as Jeoff thompson or may be more. (1983-84) But he was never got fair chance in Pakistan cricket. Even board asked him to change his style which reduces his speed and board did not give him proper chances. He was from Karachi, Korangi.

    Can any bowler (from PUNJAB) bowl fast without taking drugs or ball tempering?

    Waqar and Wasim had been arrested in West Indies while taking drugs. Recently, Asif and Shoaib was banned due to termendous amount of drugs. Imran Khan admited that he done ball temparing several times.

    Is drug the diet of PUNJAB?

    What about Mohammad Sami? He never took any drugs but he is second fastest bowler in Pakistan. Umer Gul is faster than any bowler from PUNJAB except Shoaib Akhtar (along with drugs scandals).

    Unfortunately PCB is short sghited they can see only folks around their head office in Lahore.

    Gulab Khan Peshawer

  • Hamza on July 27, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    Salman bhai, Shoaib's transgressions are more than mere "misdemeanors." If Wasim and Waquar cheated by match-fixing, Shoaib cheated by taking performance-enhancing and tarnishing the blackened name of Pakistan cricket even further.

    Let's leave the drugs test out of it. I actually sympathize with players who might have taken drugs to aid and quicken recovery from lengthy injuries. Setting that aside, over the past six years, Shoaib's "misdemeanours" have led to him having only the bare threads of an international career, due to his quarrels, constant injuries, and lack of the proper, sportsmanlike application to rid himself of them (I recall him pulling out of one particular test against New Zealand, and then water-skiiing during the match). In short,the sole reason he has not played as many matches as he should have done, and possibly instilled his name amongst the great Pakistani bowlers, is because of a fundamental lack of professionalism and dedication to his country's cause. How can you look so lightly upon a man who once expressed a wish to have been born in Australia, where he thought he would have been a better bowler? Waquar and Wasim might have had their faults, but they were committed to Pakistan's cause - unlike Shoaib. That is why they are greats - unlike Shoaib.

    You term Shoaib's cleanliness from match-fixing as a "major accolade", but what about the all the rest of the team who are clean as well? Most players around the world have this "major accolade"; it is to be expected of any sportsman, and not praised as an unusual characteristic.

    You talk about Shoaib's maverick behaviour as being a vital cog in his cricket personality. However, Shoaib's maverick behaviour has not been of the kind conducive to sport - or even fast bowlers (for whom it is usually an asset). Shane Warne was also a maverick. But the reason he is a legend with the traces of a maverick, and Shoaib is a maverick with the traces of a legend is because Warne gave his all on the field every time. He was a tremendous competitor on it, and a bad-boy off it. Shoaib is such a bad-boy off it that he barely ever gets the chance to stand on it!

    Warne is a tremendous competitor, who focussed all his maverick energy and talent into winning matches for Australia; the sad thing here is that Shoaib also has the ability to do that for Pakistan. During the winter home series against England in 2005, Shoaib translated all his maverick energy into complete dedication with both the ball AND bat in his hand. He was the most influential player in the team, and the hero of the nation. He lifted the team and the spirits of 160 million people. Why, oh why did he not see that his huge ego could be best satisfied by pleasing his whole country? What better attention is there for an attention-seeker than being the star of your country's favourite sport, and lighting up the entire cricketing world with your colour and charisma? In that series, Shoaib showed what he has baffingly refused to show throughout most of his career: just how great he can be, when he tries.

    One hopes it is not too late. One hopes he still has something to offer Pakistan cricket. He certainly owes a great deal. Better late than never...

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on July 27, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    Javed Bhai, Firstly I agree with your views on Shoaib and Asif. You have criticised my approach regarding Afridi a few times now but I never got a chance to respond to you. Our views on Afridi conflict owing to a rare difference in how we perceive “good performance”. For me it does not matter much how powerfully a batsman can hit, as long as the ball clears the rope. I have always said Afridi has improved as a bowler. We have many better bowlers than Afridi and as far as his batting goes, his average is still a woeful 23 after being in the team for 11 years. Also I tend to make my remarks considering his entire career, not just on accounts of his improved bowling over the past 3 years or so. Afridi is the type of player who you think can win you a match when he goes out to bat, but when he returns to the pavilion, you know you were foolish to rely on him anyway. He creates this complex and mysterious psychological effect on the Pakistani fan and that is the reason why he is still in the team. If Mohammad Hafeez or Fawad Alam were to bat in his position (no 6) they would score more runs over time and also perform equally well if not better in the bowling department because they are good ODI bowlers. That is my problem with Afridi as he currently stands in international cricket- he isn’t entirely dispensable, but he isn’t an automatic selection as well.

    As for Shoaib Akhtar my position is simple; matchwinning bowler who needs either to be dealt with by a strict taskmaster, or sacked for a year so that he gets to his senses. I have always stated that if he is fully fit he should definitely play.

    As for Inzamam, yes you are correct in identifying that I have a grudge against him. My grudge developed even more following the World Cup defeat, because even though I knew Inzamam was a pathetic captain and I did not anticipate he would drop so low. As for his batting exploits, yes he has been a very good batsman and a saviour on many occasions, but more so towards the end of his career. His consistency was never world class and he is still an inconsistent player if you compare him with the batting greats worldwide (check his average against the two best bowling sides of the last decade, for instance). That is a fact which cannot be rebutted by any jingoistic statement. Although he was won many matches for Pakistan single-handedly, he has also cost Pakistan greatly many times owing to his lethargic fielding and running between the wickets.

  • Shahid Rafiq on July 27, 2007, 14:25 GMT

    i agree with ur comments. but Muhammad Asif is also right. you gave the example of Muhammad Sami. No doubt he is a very good and strong bowler. but when we talk about fast bowlers Punjab is "THE BEST".

  • Captain Swing on July 27, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    Wow! You guys are doing your batsmen down. Zaheer, Javed Miandad, Majid, Asif Iqbal, Imran and literally a dozen other glorious stroke-makers have been daunting for other bowling sides. You've still got a mighty middle order. if you can produce a side with four good quick bowlers and a reliable pair of opening batsmen, Australia would be crushed.

  • Osman Ali Khairi on July 27, 2007, 13:19 GMT

    I don’t mean to digress and I certainly, don’t mean to stir up some mind-boggling debate but there is something that I don’t quite acquiesce with. The fact that India has produced better batsmen than us is contentious and questionable. What is undisputable though is that no Indian bowler has ever come close to emulating the performance of Imran or even the legendary pair of Waqar and Wasim for that matter. However, when it comes to Gavaskar, we had Miandad. For every Sachin we had an Inzi (and let’s not even go into the respective match-winning abilities of both players). And for those currently playing, Yousuf matches Dravid in style, grace and consistency in every sense of the word. Hence, all this hogwash regarding India having the better of Pakistan in producing quality batsmen is based on flimsy evidence and a fallacious perception driven incessantly by the Indian media. And just to give you an example of the Indian media’s reluctance to view things with an impartial perspective, you don’t have to look further than some of the blogs written on cricinfo by various Indian cricket analysts. (Rahul Bhattachariya being a notable exception) For statistics alone delineate that India has always been a mediocre team, especially when it is traveling abroad. As a natural ramification, the term ‘lions at home, lambs abroad’ has often been understandably associated with the Indian team. However, just to give you an analogy of what im trying to say, one needs to look at the performance of the so called Indian batting maestros in the recently concluded test match against England. To be humiliated against a second string England attack, only to be saved by the weather, and yet having the audacity of labeling the game as a victory of sorts accurately portrays the Indian media’s reputation of being biased and downright, laughable. Trust the Indian media to always distort facts in its favor. And for us being stupid enough, to buy it. Now, don't take me wrong here. India has produced some fantastic batsmen. And I certainly, don't mean to belittle their accomplishments. But in retrospect, I don't think any of their batsmen have ever outshone ours by such an extent that one would say 'Historicall speaking, India has always had a batting advantage over Pakistan'.

  • Muhammad Usman Aslam on July 27, 2007, 13:17 GMT

    Imran , Wasim and Waqar can if inspire bowlers across boundaries then their legacies are also not bound by time. Any rookie fast bowler still can look at them as a role model and i believe thats still happening. Shoaib might not have set a shining example but truly the Wasims and Waqars had enough brilliance spread in their performances over decades that it would be hard to forget those long run ups and stumps uprooting. safe to say that the legacy of Pakistan fast bowlers is in the right hands. unless our board goes bonkers as it did with removing Waqar Younis. His work was visible with the rise of Umer Gul as a striker. time to bring him back.

  • Mo on July 27, 2007, 13:06 GMT

    The difference between the two countries is tape ball.....

  • Gaurav on July 27, 2007, 13:04 GMT

    Role model theory is absolutely right. You can see when in 1980s and 1990s Pakistan was having super fast bowlers in Wasim, Waqar, Imran and even Aquib javed won games, there was a Mushtaq Ahmed to emulate Qadir and then Kaneria to emulate the former two. Similarly, Pakistan got Inzamam and Saeed Anwar in early 1990s to follow Miandad, Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmed etc.

    But after that there hasnt been any noticeable Pakistani batsman except Mohammed Yousuf.

    You can see Sachin, Dravid because India had Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar. Then Laxman developed from Hyderabad because Azharuddin was a great role model (except that he fell from his heights due to match fixing scandal). And long history of spinners from India just because we had role models. From Prasanna, Bedi, Chandra to Kumble and Harbhajan.

    Srinath, Prasad, Agarkar all followed Kapil's steps but couldnt become like him. Then due to lot of TV, kids in India started watching Waqar, Wasim and all other bowlers in the world and hence so many medium pacers from India. The fact they dont have a true fast bowler to look upto and guide and mentor, they are just honest triers.

    Viv Richards commented once, there wud be no Tendulkar without Gavaskar, no Richards without a Sobers and no Lara without a Richards.

    Role models are a must because thats what a kid thinks of himself when he takes the ball/bat in his hand.

  • Malik Saeed on July 27, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    I think Pakistan had already developed a nursery of fast bowlers when Shoaib burst on the scene; his early successes must have cemented the interest of these precocious early teens tearaways. Mercifully, the "misdemeaners" of shoaib and Asif ( their actions were no more than these) have probably left lasting impressions on the young aspirants who saw stardom vanish overnight and the two stars suddenly became a couple of undesirable non-entities. In my opinion both Shoaib and Asif can still achieve cricketing heights for the young ones to emulate. Malik Saeed, Toronto Canada

  • zeeshan on July 27, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    Well i dont agree with Kamrans theory of having role models since offcourse we were lucky to have great role models but having a role model cant boost up ur speed and enhance ur physical capabilities.Its a well known fact that pakistanis are a lot better than indians physically the cricket teams themselves are an example.So i think thats the main reason of pakistan producing more pacy fast bowlers.

  • YALMAZ - NY - USA on July 27, 2007, 12:30 GMT

    It is hard to believe that we are putting M Asif in the same category as Imran, Wasim, or Waqar. As far as I am concerned he has played 9 tests and has had a few good spells. Also in the last few one dayers his lack of effectiveness at the end of the innings was also quite evident. My point is that lets not make him celebrity and infact we shouldn't be even paying any attention to his comments because he absolutely has no cedentials at the moment. One bad season and he might not be playing in the team at all. Pakistan really doesn't have a great future in fast bowling dept. Shoaib will retire in a couple of years, Sami has been playing for a long time without reaching his so called potential, Gul is good but he can't be the leader of the pack. The rest of the bowlers we play are just honest medium pacers good for one dayers. We were lucky to get Waqar and Wasim after Imran Khan but if really want to keep up the tradition we need to nuture talent in Pakistan and take some calculated chances like Imran used to take. Unless we unearth new talent I really don't see a great future for Pakistani bowling.

  • Sai Prakash on July 27, 2007, 12:25 GMT

    I find this whole topic really fascinating. Even though I am Indian, I really was and am a great FAN of Imran Khan. He was a classic exmple of a Man who had (has, at his present age as well) a great persone but being a TRUE sportsman, was totally dedicated to his passion. Also, I would like to eductae some of the misinformed, he started as a wild, fast medium bowler and then turned into a quick, dangerous fast bowler.Coming to the diet aspect and the regional aspect as far as PUNJAB (Pak or Ind) is all Hogwash. India's fastest bowler after Mohd Nissar has been Javagal Srinath, a pure vegetarian from the South.Ajit Agarkar is slightly built, not tall and easily bowls around 90 mph as does another Southie called Sree Santh. Venkatesh Prasad, Balaji or Ganesh were also not from the North of India. I really think a ROLE model is required. Kapil was our best Role model but was only a Fast medium bowler with a great Outswinger.Also, I think Indians are physically LAZY. It is much easier to bat for 3 hours than bowl 6-7 overs, running in. If Munaf Patel or Sree Sant could become role models, but do they have the HEART?? I think the HEART is lacking in Shoaib and Asif as well, Pak is also looking for a Role Model at present. Dear Cricket freaks across the border, I miss Inzy's lazy elegance, hope another Classy bat comes through for you guys!!!

  • Umair on July 27, 2007, 12:19 GMT

    Its an interesting hypothesis, shared by both sides. By I look at it from a different angle. After discussing with my indian cricket friends, I have realized that Tape ball cricket is not as big in India as it is in Pakistan. Almost all young cricketers start from Tape ball cricket. In tape ball (which is not torn), the ball doesnt swing in the air, nor it moves off the pitch. A bowler can only survive if he has good pace. This form of cricket helps pakistani youngsters to develop good actions, and provides a good platform to develop good pace. I think legacy of Imran Khan, Wasim and Waqar also helps provide them role models and inspiration. As far as example of Shaoib is concerned (Asig being very young) I think he will only be remembered as a brat who could ball fast. Imran, Wasim and Waqar will be the role models for the next generation.

  • Mubashir Hanif on July 27, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    Assalamoalikum!Punjab; the land of fertile people or punjabis; the people of fertile land. Yóu can read it either ways as you like. I was reading once that in the time of east india company, more than 70 percent army jwaans were from Punjab. Common there has to be something about punjab and punjabis, lassi, parathas, desi ghee, dhotee, bhangra, the built up. Diet defintely has a say, indians generally tend to run away from meet, mostly vegs, but Pakistanis love meat if they can afford it. Good height and build up definitely has a say in fast bowling with lots of other factors. Also I think that at least in Pakistan Imran, Akram, waqar, aqib and shoaib have set good standards for the kids to follow. You know once the crop is good, you mostly alwasy have good seeds to sow again. Peace

  • GK on July 27, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    Kamran,your article has been spot on.The reason why pakistan has been able to churn out an assembly line of fast bowlers is bcoz of Imran Khan.He was the one who spotted Akram and Waqar in the bylanes of karachi and guided them till they were ready for International cricket.One good thing is that fast bowlers have God fathers in pakistani cricket and they make sure that the bowlers are properly guided till they are ready.This is a great concept actually.Talent tapping is done in every village and it is made sure that players are selected based on their talent.Budding kids in pak look upto wasim or waqar as their role models and everyone wants to bowl like them.So basically everybody wants to be a bowler and you have a big pool of fast men ready to be picked.Talking of diet it is just secondary,it may not influence much in your bowling.You don't have to be a express fast bowler to take wickets all the time.Imran khan and Mcgrath have been great examples. I would also like to add another point,there was a mention by someone that Javagal Srinath touched only 80 mph (max) in his career.When srinath started his career,he was bowling with genuine pace.He clocked 155kmph in durban in 1992-93 during the tour of SA and used to bowl at a very good pace till 1999 before a serious shoulder injury robbed him of his pace. ofcourse he slowed down big time towards the end of his career.

  • dasc on July 27, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    I guess it must be a mixture of various factors both physical attributes and the inspiration from role models. But in anycase Kamran let me assure that Shoaib has alreday inspired a lot of youngsters from all over the world to take up fast bowling. In my opinion he is the first of the modern super-quicks. To a generation that had not seen the likes of Jeff Thompson and Michael Holding, the sight of Shoiab running in and bowling at incredible pace was the single most exciting thing about Cricket during the late 1990s. His reputation has taken a beating over the years for various reasons but he probably did enough in the first two years of his career to leave atleast one generation in awe.

  • khawaja naveed zafar on July 27, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    Kamran Sb truly you are 100% right. You see the stardom and the success which Imran, Wasim and Waqar got I think Shoaib and Asif are no where near it. But still they behaved in the most erratic and unprofessional manner. Hats off to the earlier legends who inspite of all the fame still gave their best to their country.

  • Salman on July 27, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    It seems wishful thinking at best to hope that Shoaib would change his maverick attitude and approach to the game. This is the style which has made him so famous and such a star attraction of international cricket and one of the elite ranked players in the world. Take it or leave it , he is the most admired present Pak cricketer amongst Australian fans who are known for their high standards. The reception he got in the '00 ODI match V Australia Dowunder was most awesome as he was coming back to the fold of the team after getting a reprieve from ICC regarding the misplaced objection on his bowling action. Eccentricity in his soul and to hope now that he mellows down is equivalent to expecting him to turn into a medium fast bowler. What stands out in his comparison to the Two Ws is the fact that Shoaib is completely untainted with suspicions of match-fixing which in itself is a major accolade. Attitude and tantrums can be forgiven and forgotten but not when a cricketer is involved in selling out his country. In that regards, Shoaib's transgressions are at most, misdemeanors. And anyway whatever he does in his private life is his personal matter.

  • Rizwan on July 27, 2007, 10:55 GMT

    You have touched on a very important topic here. For me Imran is a legend not only for what he achieved in his own career but also because he passed the mantle onto Wasim and Waqar. If you compare the end of Imran's era with what Wasim and Waqar left it does not compare, and if you take it further when Akthar and Asif retire I think they we will be in a worse position. Someone at the PCB needs to devise a succession plan to link the new generation of bowlers with those who have recently retired. This role model theory has also worked with spinners as Abdul Qadir helped Mustuaq Ahmed out when he first came into the team.

  • Ibrar Hussain on July 27, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    Role models is one thing but diet is important to get the power into the shoulders to be able to ball fast. I believe that if indian bowlers ate meat, which i know they are not allowed to, it will increase thier strength. Its all good doing weights but you need meat to increase your strength. Look at Munaf Patel probably the fastest of the indian bowlers at the moment, and i'm sure he eats plenty of it.

  • Salman Sharif on July 27, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    Kamran, you've made some valid points but have you ever heard of Umar Gul? What controversies has he been involved in and how many late night parties has he been caught at? He's potentially a good role model. Also, what about Rana Naved, he's out of favour now but he was the classic example of a work horse. You need to think of all our bowlers, not just the ones that suit you!

  • SID JAMES on July 27, 2007, 10:19 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, your 'hypothesis' is spot on . However you are incorrect in labelling , what is essentially, a fact as a hypothetical scenario.

    Cricket, particularly in Indo -Pak has sprouted talent based on emulation. Young and up-coming palyers emulate themseleves and their style of play on their heroes current or past. Which is precisely the reason why India produces better batsmen than Pakistan and Pakistan better bowlers than them.

    You are also correct in your assumption that there is cross-border emulation rapidly developing, more so from an indian perspective than pakistan, which worries me. Mohd Azharuddin started this in early 1990 when his technique got found out on west indian & australian wickets. Who did he turn to?.....no one indian but to Zaheer Abbas whom Azhar had high opinion of purely because in Azhar's own admission his style matched close to Zaheer. The result was a modified bottom hand grip and the rest is history as sublime strokes after shots came from Azhar's bat [ Azhar's inning at Lords 1990 test refers where 121 were scored in 80 odd balls..sheer class and mastery ]

    So I would ignore Asif's reference to desi dietary nuances and concentrate more on attitudes and mindsets, as rightly pointed by yourselves. At the end of the day we dont want our future fast bowling resources emulating the pedestrian indians because our own may not be able to inspire them...The chances of this happening, though, are remote and i would advise Kamran sahib to sit back and relax. For the time being the legacy is in good hands.

  • Faraz on July 27, 2007, 10:16 GMT

    If your role-model theory behind Pakistani fast bowlers sucesss was true, then why West Indies can't crop up new genuine fast bowlers? They had plenty of role models right? Secondly, I really can't believe when you said the line between Indian and Pakistan has nothing to do with diet. Let me remind you, Pakistan was founded on religious grounds; and our diet is bombarded with meat and heavy protient; while the vegitarian diet (due to religion, tradition, culture, or whatever) doesn't have that. Kapish?

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on July 27, 2007, 10:09 GMT

    A very interesting new thread Mr Abbasi!

    I find it remarkable that the Indian Punjab fails to produce bowlers of as exceptional quality as Pakistani Punjab does. An exciting observation in the past few years has been that Indian Punjabis are accounting for a sizeable proportion of India’s pace battery- bowlers like RP Singh, VRV Singh and Ashish Nehra. One issue here might be related to India’s size and demographics; with a population of 1.2 billion and people who speak hundreds of languages, Indian Punjabis account for roughly 6-7% of the population. You hear of allegations that India always wants to keep a proportionate representation of the different regions, languages and religions in their team to keep everyone happy. That may be a reason why we don’t see many more Indian Punjabi fast bowlers or Tamil/Kannada orthodox batsmen. Your theory about role models like Sarfraz and Imran is probably correct to a degree, but I do think diet issues help. Much of the developed Pakistani Punjab is still quite conservative as far as diet and other parts of Punjab’s culture are concerned. That aside, what I find highly astonishing is that people from Pakistani Kashmir and NWFP are also predominantly “agriculturally-conservative” in their diet as well as much of their culture as Punjabis are, yet we do not see a comparable stream of budding fast bowlers from these areas. Just to further the “role model” argument, in my childhood I used to emulate Waqar Younis’s run up and action. Waqar for me is amongst the top five cricketers of the century even from an unbiased point of view. I used to spend hours and hours trying to grip the ball differently, releasing the ball from different stages in the action and different angles, just to see whether I could bowl like Waqar. If I would have been a cricketer I would have been very successful, but I couldn’t pursue this ambition owing to parental pressure. Anyway, most of the people I used to play with were players much older than me who used to play for leagues and clubs. They used to get very impressed by my commitment to bowling. What I am trying to say is that in Pakistan, people get influenced by fast bowlers, emulate them, and just end up bowling like them. It’s something that JUST HAPPENS although there are obviously other factors involved. You can say it might be natural talent, but there can’t be an intrinsic talent in people who are born in the left side of the border of Pakistan-India and an absence of that talent in people born on the right side of that border. I had started moving the ball in the air and I also mastered a lethal inswinging yorker (although at that time I did not know what reverse swing was, otherwise, I was so crazy about Waqar that I would have also tried learning that!). So this theory about “role models” is true to an extent and even extends to non Punjabis, like me.

    Just like how Pakistan seems to have a talent with fast bowling, India has a similar talent with batting. It is strange that even in Pakistan, Karachi (which seems to be producing fewer and fewer international cricketers for some reason) has produced the best three batsmen- Miandad, Zaheer and Saeed Anwar (when looking at their consistency and the team’s dependence on them for the entirety of their careers, which is why I won’t include Inzamam who was an inconsistent batsman all the way through and who only became a reliable batsman in the final few years of his career, presuming his career has come to an end).

    Mr Abbasi, I fear that the seeds for Pakistan’s descent in fast bowling have already been sown. In Wasim and Waqar Pakistan had two reliable bowlers who always gave their 100%. Shoaib Akhtar is approaching the end of his career and in my opinion does not even have half as many fans as Wasim or Waqar do, so he has much fewer people who will consider him a role model or who might emulate him. Asif on the other hand is still a youngster and although he has shown a lot of promise he needs to give many more match winning performances if he is to reach the pedestal of Wasim or Waqar. Of all the fast bowlers we have seen after the departure of Wasim and Waqar, only Mohammad Asif has impressed although his reputation has been tainted by the doping scandal and let us not forget that Pakistani cricketers have recently shown the habit of losing their shine and/or disappearing from the international scene after a string of good early performances, such as Rana Naved, Shabbir Ahmed or Mohammad Sami.

  • ASIM KHAN on July 27, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    I agree with you. Our history is full of great bowlers. thats the reason, everyone wants to become like imran khan, wasim akram etc. As a result we have plenty of fast bowling options available now.

  • WK on July 27, 2007, 9:31 GMT

    Hmmmm ... Interesting!

  • Sheikh on July 27, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    I'm not sure if Wasim and Waqar set the greatest example as role models either. Infighting, match-fixing, jealousy, the carribean, and ball-tampering were all allegations made against Wasim and Waqar. At the end of the day their fans will remember them for that their exploits on the field and I imagine the same will hold for Shoaib and Asif.

  • Umair Muzaffar on July 27, 2007, 8:48 GMT

    Imran Khan was a great fast bowler. At his bowling peak he had almost all the tricks of the trade … and then some. On top of that, he was majestic --- personally I still believe that Imran Khan running in to bowl over the wicket to a right handed batsman is Cricket at its best --- raw power for speed, smooth motion in the air, the gliding jump and the faultless delivery action --- is probably the most perfect sight to see. Then there were those super in-swinging deliveries that were followed by one that would move away.

    Yes … I am an Imran Khan fan … and yes I have dreamt many a times to be able to bowl that way. I am sure that I am not the only one who dreamt that way and I am sure that it did result in more kids trying harder and harder to be like Imran. Thus, Pakistan Cricket has enjoyed the results in the form of some of the best fast bowling attacks in the not so distant past.

    That said --- I think that Shoaib Akhtar with all his misconducts --- is not far behind --- he also is as majestic in the run up, in the jump and at the delivery time. For me --- if anyone comes close to what Imran had to offer --- then it is Shoaib Akhter. And he can send some viciously quick deliveries that can swing in or out. But there is something missing … Imran Khan could bowl long spells, in heat, without loosing his line, length, swing or control of the ball. He could bowl some nasty and long spells.

    Shoaib has yet to deliver on accuracy and fitness --- a little attitude for a decent looking quickie is understandable and at times required. Shoaib can deliver on these promises … he just needs to take care of himself so he is fit enough for some marathon spells and … he needs to stay away from ALL illegal drugs.

    He is “THE ONE”, he just needs to deliver!

  • Noman Aziz on July 27, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    Very true, I totally agree with you Kamran. The 2 Ws and Imran Khan have been the greatest inspeiration for every youngster who wants to step into cricket world. In Pakistan people's mind set is such that if you are not a hard hitting batsman or a fast bowler, your not considered as a cricketer. This is probably why Paksitan lacks pateient batsmen, good fielders and worldclass spin bowlers. Secondly, WHERE IS PAKISTAN? where every nation is busy in cricket Pakistan has only played 3 ODIs since the Worldcup... Now we have to wait till the Twenty20 championship finishes to see any form of cricketing action from Pakistan...Why is the summer being wasted?

  • Kasi on July 27, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    Well Said

  • Asad Ali on July 27, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    Atlast someone gives a different view on this topic. I remember an Indian telling me the secret behind Zaheer Khan's success (he was relatively a new face and starting to get success) being the fact that he eats beef. I couldn't help but laugh on his face. I have never played competitive cricket. Only at a level that could be termed 'pre-club' cricket. I'm 5'9" weighing less than 60 kg. People tell me I'm the skinniest person they've ever seen. My parents being indian migrates, our eating habbits are more like indians. But, even on this 'frame and diet', I can bowl much faster than a lot of my friends who are much strongly built, come from Punjab and eat beef. I'm pretty sure, if I had the chance to train properly and play prefessionally, I'd be consistently touching the 85 mph mark, even at more or less the same physique. What's the driving force behind it? As you said, role models of Imran, Wasim, Waqar and partly of Shoaib.

  • Waqar Younis on July 27, 2007, 8:11 GMT

    Nice little article, I agree with Kamran. The other problem with Indian Cricket is, even at a young age from as far back as I can recall, Indian have always had a batsmen as a Role Model? Sachin, Sunil, Dravid to name just three at present. So during the growing up of a young cricketers career, more attention is paid to a batsmen for example when sachin departs? Pak Cricket has been different, late 70's early 80's and into the 90's I would watch Imran Khan running in and letting Rip the Red Cherry? Towards the end of his career, Wasim and Waqar appeared on the scene? Great, Great Bowlers. During the hot British summers I remember me and my friends down in the park playing cricket and rather than batting we wanted to bowl to emulate the 2 W's?

    The Point I'm trying to Make, for the last 30 years of so, Pakistanis have had great batsman, but from an early age we want to be the next Wasim, Waqar, Shoahib or Asif. I don't see that mentality coming from Young Indian starting out there careers in Indian etc. I guarantee if you were to go to an Indian school right now during their lunch? All the little kids would know only one name which is Sachin & Dravid. Bowling comes second to Indians?

    This is more an observation? But Pak Cricket (Especially on Bowling in the next 10-15 years will be Great)??? Reason I say that is I went to a Pak Cricket Training camp and few years back in Lahore? and watching 12-16 years wanting to be the next great Pakistani fast bowler was very refreshing, and to mention also. These teens looked very fast even at such a young age? I don't mind picking up a cricket bat at times? but would hate to face some of those guys when they turn 19-20 for example? It will be nothing but raw pace? So Watch Pak to be ontop of ICC Bowling ranking with 10 years.

  • hassan feroz on July 27, 2007, 8:03 GMT

    imran wasnt a medium fast pacer he was geniunly quick.....n dats on records mr ....chill

  • Adnan BUtt on July 27, 2007, 7:36 GMT

    Well Shoiab could have done better , but i still think he is a role model for lots of fast bowler's in pakistan . They want to ball fast and really fast and they have seen how this guy has come through odds . lets see how Shoiab ends his career he might have 2 years only if he keeps him self fit .

    As per Asif i belive me has lots to prove, let him play for atleast 5 years then we will see where he stand

  • WASIM SAQIB on July 27, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    The clear disparity in the fast bowling department between India and Pakistan can be attributed to both Physical strength and role models/tradition. Physical strength depends on diet and genetics.

    However, the key point is the available Role models or mentors. India always had great spin bowlers and they still are producing quality spin bowlers, over the years India neglected the fast bowling department as their spinners and medium pacers did the job for them, but now the focus is shifting and India is desperately trying to develop express fast bowlers.

    Pakistan was lucky to have great fast bowlers from the inception in fact if it was not for Fazal Mahmood Pakistan would not have gotten test status so early after independence. Fazal had an almost unplayable leg cutter, he had the amazing ability to swing a ball pitched outside leg stump toward the slips just like a leg spinner, He was not express only fast medium but due to his charisma and character he was regarded as an Imran Khan before Imran khan in my opinion he was the original torch bearer of this great fast bowling tradition. I do not agree with Kamran that Imran was a mere medium pace bowler when he joined Kerry Packer's world series as I still remember they had a fast bowling competition in late 70,s in which all the leading fast bowlers took part, Jeff Thompson clocked the fastest ball around 149 and Imran and Micheal Holding on average were the fastest bowlers, the accuracy trophy was shared between Sarfraz and Thompson, both of them knocked the middle stump four times.

    Imran and Sarfraz both have been extremely generous in terms of mentoring the young fast bowlers and passing them on the tricks of the trade, they acted like a huge knowledge base which helped Pakistan in producing quality fast bowlers. Also Pakistan got blessed by the natural talent of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

    I don't think that the onus of torch bearing lies on the shoulders of Shoaib and Asif as of yet, I think the responsibility lays with PCB they should have used the 2W's in grooming and nurturing the upcoming fast bowlers as both of them are in a better position to be the role model and mentors than Asif and Shoaib, as both are still playing and Shoaib in particular is not generous in helping youngsters I know it from a personal experience. It’s too early to make them the mentors.

    If Wasim and Waqar are not used for fast bowling coaching camps in future then Pakistan might continue to produce bowlers like Sami who have the Pace but are completely flat and do not possess the art of swing and the extra ordinary wicket taking ability.

  • Qaim Rizvi on July 27, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    Well i do agree with you Mr. Abbasi but in the past Wasim and Waqr and even Imran faced the issues like "bowl tempering" Wasim and Waqar getting on each other................ All of this but still they are legends....... lets hope Shoaib and Asif get their cricket moeover pakistan cricket back on track........ lets hope for the very best...... Best of Luck to both of them.....

  • Kazi Saab on July 27, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    Great Post. Personally, I don't think Shoaib or Asif are capable of being the role models that Imran was to Wasim and Waqar. I think when it comes to Shoaib, he has his own demons to fight. I think asking Shoaib to focus on his game is a tough task, let alone having him being a role model to youngsters. I am not criticizing his talent or skill, as i am one of his biggest fans. As for Asif, i think Asif is still an amateur getting his feet wet. Let Asif get through this busy cricketing seasion we have coming and then we ll have this conversation.

  • Faraz Shaikh on July 27, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    I agree with Mr.Kamran that the abundance of fast bowlers in Pakistan is not due to diet but due to role models in almost every decade....But I don,t agree that Shoaib and Asif can,t be the future role models.The thing is that controversies and scandals were always behind the role models like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.Imran remembered as the glamour boy and Wasim Akram has been associated with the scandals in his era..of match fixing etc etc....but they all share one thing..passion in their blood and mastery in their skills.thats why they are the role models, and I think lot of us can see this passion in Asif and Shoaib as well.I think shoaib has become more matured now and asif will be so I don,t think we will lose our role models in any era.We all pray that Pakistan cricket continues to produce such talents like wasim ,waqar ,shaoib so the younger generation can always loook up to them........

  • Chaks on July 27, 2007, 5:51 GMT

    Kamran jee, I am from India and I have a altogether different explanation for the lack of good fast bowlers in India. Everyone here wants to be a batsman. I remember in my school days, whenever we played cricket, the toss winning captain always chose the 'Batting First' option. It was quite common that after the first inning, play would get abondoned due to some minor issues and the 'Bowling First' team would not get a chance to bat. This often used to lead to verbal fights. The psychological thought in India even among the kids is that batting is higher art compared to bowling.

  • Kashif Ahsan on July 27, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    I can't say much about your theory. But in parallel to what you have said, i think its the fact the people like Imran Khan are born once in a century, no bias intended. He was a great talent no doubt like wasim, waqar and shoaib but the thing that places him above all others were his principles,belief in himself and the ability to lead. I guess, in a way its something inert in the current generation of talent in Pakistan. Muhammad Asif, though, looks quite promising (relative to Shoaib) in his short career uptil now. Lets see how he continues to develop.

  • Adeel on July 27, 2007, 5:18 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    I agree with you on your point about the power of a rolemodel, but disagree with you on the point you make about Asif and Shoaib being the wrong type of rolemodel for future Pakistani fastbowlers. Imran Khan was a playboy. So where Wasim, Waqar etc... to some degree. They had their whims, not always positive. But in the end, youngsters are inspired by the onfield display of the rolemodel. In that case, I think, Pakistan has got tremendous rolemodels. And do not forget the likes of Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar, who are worthy of being rolemodels, not highprofile, but hardworking.

  • Rajan on July 27, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    Kamran Saab, Fazal Mahmood was truly the first great Pakistani paceman. As far as I know he was the complete medium-fast bowler. He retired from test cricket in 1962. From then, for another 10-12 years, there was no pace bowler of note in Pakistan. Starting with the Imran-Sarfaraz era, Pakistan has produced a long line of quality fast bowlers. Wonder why that gap between Fazal's retirement and Imran-Safaraz debuts? Rajan

  • M. S. Dar on July 27, 2007, 4:22 GMT

    Your are right Kamran Abbasi we need a role models who will inspire future fast bowlers for Pakistan cricket. Or we will become like India cricket team no express bowlers...

  • Muhammad Asif on July 27, 2007, 4:11 GMT

    Mohammad Asif says, "India has always produced batsmen and Pakistan have had strong bowling attacks. In Pakistan, especially from Punjab, fast bowlers come through. I don't know what it is about Punjab. But the aggression and physicality you need to be a fast bowler, that's something you see in people from Punjab. Maybe it's the diet plan, what you eat, what you drink. I don't know what it is but they're strong people." In spite of your "alternative theory" the ground reality is that all of the big names in fast bowling, that you mentioned, are from Punjab. Even the great Fazal Mehmood that you didn't mention. But the simple thing is that its still a mystery....

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on July 27, 2007, 2:38 GMT

    Interesting observation Mr. Abbassi. Me too, I was thinking on the same lines as you after reading Mohammad Asif's interview on cricinfo by Anand Vasu. I won't say 'great minds think alike' but, I would say 'fools seldom disagree' ;-). As a bowler Asif is intelligent in spotting and exploiting the weakness of a batsman and also in maintaining his line and length. And that is his strength as a fast bowler. But, he is neither a glitterati nor a literati or, even a celebrity yet to talk like one. It sounds more of a desi "litterati" by accepting and echoing the praise, accolades and compliments from people that, he is Pakistan's McGrath. Its like, a monkey praising his own tail, imo its a bit immature to admit and talk about it, he should let the people talk about it, he could have easily avoided that comment to show some maturity. But, thats him and his Pay & do pun.

    On the dietary plan and Punjab's water, Rameez Raja also aired similar views on TV once when asked by someone that, how come Pakistan produces more fast bowlers than India? Raja's response was similar he said, 'Punjab's water and diet plan makes the difference between Indian and Pakistani fast bowlers'. Kapil Dev's home town is on the other side of the river and he was better than most of the other mediocre Pakistani bowlers, so restrict these attributes only for Pakistani bowlers? The urdu commentator Munir Hussain, so pompously boasted once about Manzoor Elahi that, Manzoor Elahi hails from "the land of milk and yogurt" and that is why he is such a powerful hitter of the ball. Afridi is not from the land of milk and yogurt but, he is the most powerful hitter of the ball.

    To a certain extent high protein diet plans makes a difference but, you are right in saying that inspiration and motivation plays more important role in improving and honing one's skills and abilities and also by idolizing your heroes. But, your examples of Javagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar is not so convincing Mr. Abbassi. Because, both of these bowlers have clocked the speeds of high eighties but hardly ever crossed the nineties. Mohammad Sami is not from the mercurial land of Punjab where the rivers are full of milk and yogurt, he has constantly bowled over 90 m.p.h. and crossed the mid 90 barrier several times. He grew up drinking water from the Liari river or from the Kalri lake or Hale jee or Dhabe jee lake, whatever, so its not important whether you drink water from the river or from a bottle from "Pani-Ghar".

    Fast bowling is more of a culture thing and I totally agree with you that it was Imran Khan who took the fast bowling to the zenith of modern day cricket with his intelligence and innovations during the post Packer era. I also agree with you that without Imran Khan, W&W may not have been the same bowlers of their era. Otherwise, during the pre-Imran and pre-Sarfaraz era there were fast bowlers like Mahmood Hussain, Mohammad Munaf, Nasim ul Ghani, Majid Khan, Asif Masood, Saleem Altaf etc., but none so effective, perhaps some of them idolized Fazal Mahmood, who became a legend due to his in-cutters and off-cutters and because of his flamboyant lifestyle he was known as the Bryl Cream boy owing to his glamorous looks, his lazy and lethargic attitude in picking up the ball and more than anything else he shot to stardom due to his magical spell at the Oval. He too was not a genuine fast bowler but, a unique medium pacer who was able to seam and cut the ball with ease and take wickets.

    Its a shame that English players and the English media made a big hue and cry after loosing against Imran Khan's team and called not only Imran but, W&W as cheats. Now, when the English bowlers are able to reverse swing the ball, they refer it as The Art of English Swing Bowling. I consider Imran Khan as the greatest legend of Pakistan cricket, but I am not always convinced by his sponsored comments meant to praise the young players which have often ruined and destroyed their careers rather than helping them in becoming a legend or even in improving or lifting their game. Mohammad Sami and Younis Khan are examples of Imran's constant praise which got into their heads and they failed.

    Finally, on your comments about Shoaib and Asif to become role models is only a wishful thinking. Shoaib has a few more seasons of cricket left in his career and there is nothing much that he can do except being remembered as the big bully boy who clocked 100 m.p.h. and was involved in 100 other controversies. Whereas, Asif may continue for another decade or so and may create or break a few records and achieve good results but, he cannot become a role model or a torch bearer for the future fast bowlers 'coz of the taboo that he is carrying with him. Besides, he needs a lot of maturity to demonstrate his class with some real finesse in articulating his thoughts and in shaping his words like his bowling. He should only concentrate on bowling and in taking wickets the results will speak, the people will speak, and he shouldn't.

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  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on July 27, 2007, 2:38 GMT

    Interesting observation Mr. Abbassi. Me too, I was thinking on the same lines as you after reading Mohammad Asif's interview on cricinfo by Anand Vasu. I won't say 'great minds think alike' but, I would say 'fools seldom disagree' ;-). As a bowler Asif is intelligent in spotting and exploiting the weakness of a batsman and also in maintaining his line and length. And that is his strength as a fast bowler. But, he is neither a glitterati nor a literati or, even a celebrity yet to talk like one. It sounds more of a desi "litterati" by accepting and echoing the praise, accolades and compliments from people that, he is Pakistan's McGrath. Its like, a monkey praising his own tail, imo its a bit immature to admit and talk about it, he should let the people talk about it, he could have easily avoided that comment to show some maturity. But, thats him and his Pay & do pun.

    On the dietary plan and Punjab's water, Rameez Raja also aired similar views on TV once when asked by someone that, how come Pakistan produces more fast bowlers than India? Raja's response was similar he said, 'Punjab's water and diet plan makes the difference between Indian and Pakistani fast bowlers'. Kapil Dev's home town is on the other side of the river and he was better than most of the other mediocre Pakistani bowlers, so restrict these attributes only for Pakistani bowlers? The urdu commentator Munir Hussain, so pompously boasted once about Manzoor Elahi that, Manzoor Elahi hails from "the land of milk and yogurt" and that is why he is such a powerful hitter of the ball. Afridi is not from the land of milk and yogurt but, he is the most powerful hitter of the ball.

    To a certain extent high protein diet plans makes a difference but, you are right in saying that inspiration and motivation plays more important role in improving and honing one's skills and abilities and also by idolizing your heroes. But, your examples of Javagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar is not so convincing Mr. Abbassi. Because, both of these bowlers have clocked the speeds of high eighties but hardly ever crossed the nineties. Mohammad Sami is not from the mercurial land of Punjab where the rivers are full of milk and yogurt, he has constantly bowled over 90 m.p.h. and crossed the mid 90 barrier several times. He grew up drinking water from the Liari river or from the Kalri lake or Hale jee or Dhabe jee lake, whatever, so its not important whether you drink water from the river or from a bottle from "Pani-Ghar".

    Fast bowling is more of a culture thing and I totally agree with you that it was Imran Khan who took the fast bowling to the zenith of modern day cricket with his intelligence and innovations during the post Packer era. I also agree with you that without Imran Khan, W&W may not have been the same bowlers of their era. Otherwise, during the pre-Imran and pre-Sarfaraz era there were fast bowlers like Mahmood Hussain, Mohammad Munaf, Nasim ul Ghani, Majid Khan, Asif Masood, Saleem Altaf etc., but none so effective, perhaps some of them idolized Fazal Mahmood, who became a legend due to his in-cutters and off-cutters and because of his flamboyant lifestyle he was known as the Bryl Cream boy owing to his glamorous looks, his lazy and lethargic attitude in picking up the ball and more than anything else he shot to stardom due to his magical spell at the Oval. He too was not a genuine fast bowler but, a unique medium pacer who was able to seam and cut the ball with ease and take wickets.

    Its a shame that English players and the English media made a big hue and cry after loosing against Imran Khan's team and called not only Imran but, W&W as cheats. Now, when the English bowlers are able to reverse swing the ball, they refer it as The Art of English Swing Bowling. I consider Imran Khan as the greatest legend of Pakistan cricket, but I am not always convinced by his sponsored comments meant to praise the young players which have often ruined and destroyed their careers rather than helping them in becoming a legend or even in improving or lifting their game. Mohammad Sami and Younis Khan are examples of Imran's constant praise which got into their heads and they failed.

    Finally, on your comments about Shoaib and Asif to become role models is only a wishful thinking. Shoaib has a few more seasons of cricket left in his career and there is nothing much that he can do except being remembered as the big bully boy who clocked 100 m.p.h. and was involved in 100 other controversies. Whereas, Asif may continue for another decade or so and may create or break a few records and achieve good results but, he cannot become a role model or a torch bearer for the future fast bowlers 'coz of the taboo that he is carrying with him. Besides, he needs a lot of maturity to demonstrate his class with some real finesse in articulating his thoughts and in shaping his words like his bowling. He should only concentrate on bowling and in taking wickets the results will speak, the people will speak, and he shouldn't.

  • Muhammad Asif on July 27, 2007, 4:11 GMT

    Mohammad Asif says, "India has always produced batsmen and Pakistan have had strong bowling attacks. In Pakistan, especially from Punjab, fast bowlers come through. I don't know what it is about Punjab. But the aggression and physicality you need to be a fast bowler, that's something you see in people from Punjab. Maybe it's the diet plan, what you eat, what you drink. I don't know what it is but they're strong people." In spite of your "alternative theory" the ground reality is that all of the big names in fast bowling, that you mentioned, are from Punjab. Even the great Fazal Mehmood that you didn't mention. But the simple thing is that its still a mystery....

  • M. S. Dar on July 27, 2007, 4:22 GMT

    Your are right Kamran Abbasi we need a role models who will inspire future fast bowlers for Pakistan cricket. Or we will become like India cricket team no express bowlers...

  • Rajan on July 27, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    Kamran Saab, Fazal Mahmood was truly the first great Pakistani paceman. As far as I know he was the complete medium-fast bowler. He retired from test cricket in 1962. From then, for another 10-12 years, there was no pace bowler of note in Pakistan. Starting with the Imran-Sarfaraz era, Pakistan has produced a long line of quality fast bowlers. Wonder why that gap between Fazal's retirement and Imran-Safaraz debuts? Rajan

  • Adeel on July 27, 2007, 5:18 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    I agree with you on your point about the power of a rolemodel, but disagree with you on the point you make about Asif and Shoaib being the wrong type of rolemodel for future Pakistani fastbowlers. Imran Khan was a playboy. So where Wasim, Waqar etc... to some degree. They had their whims, not always positive. But in the end, youngsters are inspired by the onfield display of the rolemodel. In that case, I think, Pakistan has got tremendous rolemodels. And do not forget the likes of Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar, who are worthy of being rolemodels, not highprofile, but hardworking.

  • Kashif Ahsan on July 27, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    I can't say much about your theory. But in parallel to what you have said, i think its the fact the people like Imran Khan are born once in a century, no bias intended. He was a great talent no doubt like wasim, waqar and shoaib but the thing that places him above all others were his principles,belief in himself and the ability to lead. I guess, in a way its something inert in the current generation of talent in Pakistan. Muhammad Asif, though, looks quite promising (relative to Shoaib) in his short career uptil now. Lets see how he continues to develop.

  • Chaks on July 27, 2007, 5:51 GMT

    Kamran jee, I am from India and I have a altogether different explanation for the lack of good fast bowlers in India. Everyone here wants to be a batsman. I remember in my school days, whenever we played cricket, the toss winning captain always chose the 'Batting First' option. It was quite common that after the first inning, play would get abondoned due to some minor issues and the 'Bowling First' team would not get a chance to bat. This often used to lead to verbal fights. The psychological thought in India even among the kids is that batting is higher art compared to bowling.

  • Faraz Shaikh on July 27, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    I agree with Mr.Kamran that the abundance of fast bowlers in Pakistan is not due to diet but due to role models in almost every decade....But I don,t agree that Shoaib and Asif can,t be the future role models.The thing is that controversies and scandals were always behind the role models like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.Imran remembered as the glamour boy and Wasim Akram has been associated with the scandals in his era..of match fixing etc etc....but they all share one thing..passion in their blood and mastery in their skills.thats why they are the role models, and I think lot of us can see this passion in Asif and Shoaib as well.I think shoaib has become more matured now and asif will be so I don,t think we will lose our role models in any era.We all pray that Pakistan cricket continues to produce such talents like wasim ,waqar ,shaoib so the younger generation can always loook up to them........

  • Kazi Saab on July 27, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    Great Post. Personally, I don't think Shoaib or Asif are capable of being the role models that Imran was to Wasim and Waqar. I think when it comes to Shoaib, he has his own demons to fight. I think asking Shoaib to focus on his game is a tough task, let alone having him being a role model to youngsters. I am not criticizing his talent or skill, as i am one of his biggest fans. As for Asif, i think Asif is still an amateur getting his feet wet. Let Asif get through this busy cricketing seasion we have coming and then we ll have this conversation.

  • Qaim Rizvi on July 27, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    Well i do agree with you Mr. Abbasi but in the past Wasim and Waqr and even Imran faced the issues like "bowl tempering" Wasim and Waqar getting on each other................ All of this but still they are legends....... lets hope Shoaib and Asif get their cricket moeover pakistan cricket back on track........ lets hope for the very best...... Best of Luck to both of them.....