Wasim's tips on inswing helped me - Junaid
Junaid Khan, the Pakistan left-arm fast bowler, has credited Wasim Akram for helping him develop the incoming delivery for right-handed batsmen, which led to him picking up eight wickets in the three-match ODI series that concluded in Delhi on Sunday.
Junaid was most potent in the first ODI in Chennai, taking out four of the top five to reduce India to 29 for 5. He also took two top-order wickets in the second ODI in Kolkata, finishing with 3 for 39. The Indian batsmen had struggled to counter Junaid's swing and his contributions helped Pakistan take the series 2-1.
"I have been a bowler who has relied on bowling outswingers consistently at a good pace. It was Wasim bhai (Akram) who told me to develop the incoming delivery which would be my weapon against the Indian right-handers," Junaid told PTI.
Junaid had dismissed Virender Sehwag with an incoming delivery in Chennai and Virat Kohli in all three matches.
"It's very natural for left-arm fast bowlers to slant it across the right-handers," Junaid said. "Once a guy like Virender Sehwag gauges the length of the away-going deliveries, you can be murdered. When I did my homework, I found out that Sehwag has a problem with the ball that comes in. I then started working hard on that incoming delivery with our chief bowling coach Mohammed Akram."
This is not the first time Junaid has credited Wasim for his development as a fast bowler. Last June, after taking 5 for 73 on a flat SSC pitch in a Test against Sri Lanka, Junaid spoke of how he was inspired by Wasim's spell in the 1992 World Cup final, where his two wickets in successive deliveries turned the game Pakistan's way. Junaid said he had watched the Youtube video of it and Wasim himself had passed on tips on reverse swing. Junaid found appreciable reverse swing in that Test to put Sri Lanka under pressure.
In his short career with Pakistan, Junaid has established a reputation for being one of the quickest bowlers in the country. However, he says swing is more important to him than pace.
"I don't want to compromise on pace but swing is the most important aspect of my bowling," he said. "One might get adjusted to pace but if one has the ability to move the ball consistently at a decent pace, he can create trouble in batsmen's mind."
He said it was a team effort that helped Pakistan win. "I was never under any kind of pressure to perform. I also got a lot of back-up from the other end as Mohammed Irfan and Umar Gul also bowled superbly. It was certainly a collective effort."