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'He was always on the front foot'
Part two: Desmond Haynes was dangerous because he believed in attack as the best form of defence (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
May 1, 2012
'He was always on the front foot'May 1, 2012
Very, very strong player, Desmond Haynes. Big guy, strong guy, and always on the front foot - like, really on the front foot. It didn't matter that me and Waqar [Younis] were bowling quick. We were running in, in the West Indies in 1993, bowling bouncers and everything. What troubled me against him as a bowler was: he used to come on the front foot, and [using] our pace he used to pull from there. So he used to kill our yorkers. If you are a great batsman, you know that if you are going to kill a swinging yorker, you have to play everything on the front foot. If you are on the back foot after a bouncer, and if I and Waqar bowled a yorker, then you had no chance as a batsman, so he knew that.
His reflexes were very quick, and he was very positive. He wasn't like Sunny Gavaskar, he was the opposite - he was a totally attacking player. Anything short, anything wide, he would hit you for four. That's why I felt very uncomfortable against him as a bowler.
He had a huge heart. He was never scared of a bouncer, he was always in front of you, in front of your eyes as a batsman. He was an incredible person off the field, but on the field he was very competitive.
I remember one of my first games against him was in Sharjah, big game against West Indies. We scored 200 runs, and Imran Khan and Mudassar Nazar told me: don't give him width, he is a front-foot player, wickets in Sharjah are slow, just bowl length and bring the ball in from middle-off. Don't give him room, he will play across the line and there will probably be a chance to get him out leg-before or bowled. And that's exactly what happened. Second over, I think, he played an on-drive and I bowled him. But after that he never played that shot against me. He was so intelligent as a batsman that he never played that shot against me. The great players, they don't make the same mistake twice against the same bowler.
Gordon Greenidge [Haynes' long-time opening partner] was also one of the great players, but I rarely played against Gordon. I think I got him out in Guyana, at gully, if I am not mistaken. Was a long time ago. Then he retired. I played one-day cricket against him. But Haynes was there till 1995-96, so he played us all the way, when me and Waqar were at our peak.
Obviously, with him - never pitch it up. If you are going to bowl a short delivery, it has to be outside off stump. If you strayed in line, he would definitely play a pull shot and punish you every time. In Test cricket when you get hit, pulled for a four off a bouncer, as a fast bowler, it is a psychological drawback. So I made sure that if I bowled a bouncer it was going across him and at a certain height.
I always bowled the bouncer from just close to the stumps. He always came in as an opener, so I was close to the stumps. I never tried using the crease much with the new ball. I used to wait for the ball to get old. Me and Waqar, for the first four-five years we never concentrated on the new ball. We were always waiting for the ball to start reversing, so we used to run in after 25-30 overs. With the new ball the idea was just to contain and then attack when the ball started reversing, especially in our part of the world.
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