Cricketers pick their favourites

'He took my bouncer out of the equation'

Part seven: Andy Flower impressed and annoyed Wasim Akram because he could make bowlers bowl where he wanted them to (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

June 5, 2012


Andy Flower

'He took my bouncer out of the equation'

June 5, 2012

Andy Flower plays a square-drive, Zimbabwe v New Zealand, Bulawayo, 4 November 1992
Andy Flower: could force bowlers to change their length Mike Hewitt / © Getty Images

The Zimbabwe side I played against was the strongest side [from Zimbabwe], physically, mentally, and they used to work as hard as anybody. Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Alistair Campbell - they had quite a few players. They gave us scares - they won a Test series against us in Pakistan in 1998-99, and won a Test match there [in 1994-95].

Andy Flower used to come at No. 4. He was a front-foot player and used to play late. And against spin bowling he was even better. He got runs against us, me and Waqar, when we were bowling quick in 1993, when they toured once, then in 1996, then in Zimbabwe in 1995… every series. He got two hundreds, if I am not mistaken, in Harare against me and Waqar - good bowling attack, good bouncy wicket as well.

His technique was perfect, his approach was excellent, and of course he was hungry for runs. What annoyed me against him as a bowler was that he used to leave the bouncer very, very easily. If any batsman comes on the front foot and you bowl a beautiful bouncer, perfect length, perfect height, and if they leave it easily, that annoys you. That means that your bouncer is gone, and that's not going to work. Then you change your psyche, change your length, or try to do something different as a bowler, and that's where Andy used to get runs. I mean, we used to bowl according to how he wanted us to bowl, because the bouncer was out of the equation.

You bowl a bouncer and he would leave easily, and that's why he was on the front foot. Again, I asked him, and he said, "I used to play inswing", and then when you got frustrated and used to bowl yorkers or low full-tosses, that's where he used to get runs. On the other hand, his brother, Grant Flower, was a very strong player but he was a very big front-foot player. He used to come on the front foot even before the bowler was releasing the ball - so for him the bouncer was an option, but against Andy it was not an option. That's what I felt as a bowler.

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