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'He was never scared of any bowler'

Part six: A fierce competitor, focused and fit, Alec Stewart was near-impossible to get out (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

May 29, 2012

Transcript

Alec Stewart

'He was never scared of any bowler'

May 29, 2012

Alec Stewart cover drives during his innings of 69, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v England XI, Lilac Hill, Perth, December 8, 2006
"If you were off line, he took full advantage" © Getty Images

Alec Stewart was a very difficult batsman for me because he used to shuffle a lot. He was a very strong player against the new ball, and Waqar and me never concentrated on the new ball till 1993-94 - we would just wait for the ball to reverse swing. That's where Stewart was so clear, he used to attack the new ball in Test cricket, with three slips, gully, short leg, no third man...

I remember in the 1992 series, in the second game he got runs against us with the new ball. I asked him last year, "Alec, tell me how you used to get runs against us that consistently." He said, "I knew that I had no chance against the reverse-swing bowling, so might as well attack you."

His technique was different, but he was a very dangerous player. Very strong, was never scared of any bowler. Very humble human being as well, but as a cricketer he was a fierce competitor. He never backed down. And he was a very fit bloke - as a batsman he was super-duper fit, and in England he hammered us every time we toured, both in one-day cricket and Test cricket. He did that to me even in county cricket. As a bowler, I always waited for the ball to reverse to get him out. With the new ball, it was impossible for me to get him out.

When the batsman shuffles, you do feel odd as a bowler. You think, "Okay, what should I bowl now? What sort of shot is he going to play? Is he going to cut, is he going to pull?" But like all great batsmen, his head was always very still. He shuffled, he moved, but only his feet - his head was very still. He was very focused. And a very good hook player and pull player. He was a back-foot player mostly, but he used to play on the up and that's where he was very dangerous.

He was different in a way, because against him, with the new ball if you were off line, he took full advantage. Me and Waqar never thought of bowling just one line, we wanted to bowl quick, so that's why we were a bit wayward with the new ball; we didn't have control in that particular era. He just knew that he might as well get lot of runs with the new ball, because with the old ball he had no chance - that's what he said himself.


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