Bowling in T10 can help T20 skills - Amir
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir insists the new 10-over format being piloted in Sharjah will have a positive effect on his bowling skills.
Amir was the first player picked in the draft for Ten10 League in November, signed up Maratha Arabians. He has bowled six overs across the three matches for his franchise so far in the four-day competition at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. In that time, he has picked up just one wicket, but his economy-rate of 8.83 is relatively favourable. His two overs, which were worth 1 for 14 as Maratha Arabians defended 130 against Punjabi Legends on Saturday, were crucial to earning a semi-final place for the side.
Amir reckons bowling 12 balls per game in T10 matches will make the other formats seem easy by comparison.
"Definitely it will," Amir said. "It is all about dot balls in this format. The more dot balls you bowl, the better your confidence gets. If you are not leaking runs in T10 cricket, then T20 cricket will seem like a very long format.
"This is a high-pressure format, and if you do well here, you will feel less pressure in T20 cricket. In one way it is a very testing format for the bowlers.
"It is very important to test your skills, because you have to think of every ball. So it is very important to bowl your yorkers and slower balls very well, because the batsmen are hitting the length balls very well.
"A fast bowler has to use his pace very well and I am doing just that. I am also trying to bring in every possible variation in my bowling."
The fact Amir was the first player selected for the tournament was driven largely by Wasim Akram, who is the franchise's mentor and coach. Ahead of the competition, Amir said he was looking forward to working with and learning from the former Pakistan left-arm quick, who is his idol.
Wasim, too, backed Amir to be a match-winner in T10, and also said he expected Amir's extended fallow spell in Test cricket to be only temporary.
"As long as he has got the pace, and he is still only 25, I reckon he can get back into gear with one spell, a couple of quick wickets," Wasim said last month. "I am not worried about him at all."
Amir, too, is optimistic about the future: "Test cricket is a totally different format. You have to bowl longer spells. Then you have the red ball to consider. Swinging conditions have to be considered. You cannot compare T20 cricket and Test cricket.
"But as a professional you have to adapt to every possible condition. For Test cricket you have to have a different frame of mind, and you have to think differently in T20 cricket. Right now I am doing well thanks to Almighty Allah. My performance is getting better day by day. In cricket you have both good and bad days, but you have to keep the learning process going."
Maratha Arabians will will play their semi-final fixture against a Kerala Kings side that includes Eoin Morgan, Kieron Pollard and Shakib Al Hasan at 5.30pm on Sunday.
In the other semi-final, starting at 7.45pm, Shahid Afridi's Pakhtoons, the only undefeated team in the competition so far, will take on Punjabi Legends. The final is scheduled to start at 9.30pm.
Paul Radley is a sportswriter with the National.
Paul Radley is a sportswriter with the National. @PaulRadley