'Fast bowling is about imposing yourself on the batsman'

Getting swing while bowling fast - Waqar Younis knew how to do that. He talks us through the art and science of it

Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

October 17, 2012

Comments: 162 | Text size: A | A

Waqar Younis took two wickets in the first innings, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Hobart, 2nd day, November 19, 1999
"Bowling is all about bringing the batsman forward: you have to make him come at least halfway in front, keep him guessing" © Getty Images

Is swing bowling an art in decline?
I do not think it is dying, because there are a lot of bowlers who can swing and know how to master it. The art that is in decline is pace, especially in the subcontinent. We do not really find fast bowlers who can bowl consistently at a rapid pace. Young bowlers come into cricket bowling at 140-145kph before fading away in a year or two. Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma are two good examples. Pakistan may be an exception because their youngsters follow fast bowling much more closely. Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, myself are heroes to many youngsters. In India it is the batsmen that a youngster normally idolises.

With the bowlers - they enter with an aggressive mindset but over the years the pace goes down.

What are the requirements for a good swing bowler?
You need a combination of a good action, timing, rhythm and energy. Swing bowling is not at all about slowing down or increasing the pace. And it is not only about the seam position and the roll of the wrists.

The very basic of swing bowling is your action. You need to have a really good action. It does not really matter whether you are side-on or front-on. If the timing of the release of the ball is perfect, then it will swing, regardless of the playing conditions. I hear TV commentators saying the seam position was good, so why did it not swing? That is because there was something amiss in the release or in the action. The wrist position is important when you talk about swing bowling.

What is the appropriate wrist position?
The fingers should be right behind the ball. When the ball comes out of the hand, the seam should be upright. For that your wrist needs to be straight at the point of release. If it is not straight, it will stop swinging. You might be able to bowl quick but it will be up and down.

Can you give an example?
Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz is a good example of a bad wrist position. His wrist breaks at the time of delivery. He is a good case of other things not being in order, due to which his wrist breaks. At the crease he is not balanced and then he has to push the ball really hard. Then his head falls and the wrist breaks. Your body position at the crease while you are delivering the ball needs to be correct.

Do you lose control of swing if you are trying for pace?
I do not agree at all. That is a wrong idea completely. Look at Dale Steyn. He bowls at 150kph-plus and he swings it big. Big bananas come out of his hand. His wrist is in such a beautiful position when the ball comes out, and all his energy is going through the crease nicely. That last part is due to his fitness.

Fast bowling is not an easy art. You need to have a brain, you need to be smart to understand what bowling is all about.

I can give you my own example when I first started playing for Pakistan. I was lucky that I had other senior fast bowlers who were really doing well, and I had a bit of competition with them. I also had Imran Khan use me nicely. He understood me better than myself. I did not have any idea what fast bowling was. All I knew was to bowl fast. It is important to have someone who can guide the youngster and tell him it will come. But it takes a lot of time to master the art.

Can you revisit those days of Waqar Younis, the young fast bowler, and how Imran shaped you?
Sometimes it is good not to know too many things. When you see a fast bowler trying too many things, it is not good for his future. I was lucky that I knew only one thing, to bowl fast. Whenever I asked Imran what I should do, he only said, "Hold on, you don't really need to do anything. I just want you to bowl quick. That is it." That really worked for me because he wanted me to become a fast bowler, not a medium-pacer.

The first six years of my career, I was really quick. Imran would use me in the middle overs, so I could get the ball to reverse. Reverse is a touch easier than conventional swing, because the ball is in your control more than when you are bowling normal swing. He used me smartly for the three years he was there, before he quit the game in 1992. By then I knew the tricks. Later Aaqib Javed was bowling with the new ball for a few years. By the time he faded away, I was ready to deliver with the new ball. So I went through all the phases: quick bowling, reverse swing and then the new ball.

Nowadays a youngster at the age of 21 tries to do different things immediately on entering international cricket. They try to learn too many things too quickly. But I again point out the example of Steyn: he does one thing, the outswinger, and he is very successful. He keeps it simple. Batsmen are scared of him because the ball comes at 150-plus.

So in those first six to seven years, were you not a complete fast bowler?
In those first six to seven years I was in the team, but I did not know much about bowling. I learned a lot about fast bowling by asking Imran. Me and Wasim would stand at mid-off and mid-on, good positions to learn about what the bowler is trying, and we would talk to each other and quickly grasp the subtleties. For about the first five seasons I was not given the new ball. I would bowl with a new ball in the nets but not in the match. I would be the fourth bowler in the attack because Imran would only bring me on when the ball started to reverse. I would keep wondering why he passed me the ball when it was 25-30 overs old. But it worked for me and now I understand why he did what he did.

We did the same thing with Shoaib Akhtar when he broke through the ranks. It was unfortunate injuries and other stuff that sidelined him, because he was a true match-winner.

"Whenever I asked Imran what I should do, he only said, 'Hold on, you don't really need to do anything. I just want you to bowl quick. That is it'"

What is the difference between bowling with the new ball and the old ball?
It always helped me, going from the old ball to the new ball. The other way around is harder: it decreases your pace as a bowler, because with an older ball you bowl quick and tend to add an extra yard or two of effort. But when it comes to a new ball, you could sort of cut down on pace a little bit. I started bowling with the new ball around 1995. By then I knew more about what my body requires, how much rest I need, how much I can bowl. Now this is done by the coaching staff. We used to monitor ourselves on our own.

Learning in the nets is a vital part of development for every fast bowler. What was your training regimen like?
I broke down a couple of times in my career. Every bowler breaks down at least once, but I broke down after doing really well on the field. People rely on the gym more now than during our times. I am not saying that is wrong. It has done wonders in terms of strength, conditioning and looks. But do bowlers have enough gas in their tanks, especially in the subcontinent, to keep going? I fear people will continue to break down.

So the point I am driving is: focus on the basics. Bowling and running were major parts of my training. I did very little gym because nobody was there to tell me that it could have helped with my strength. I guess that helped me in a way, because my body would not have coped with going to the gym and then bowling. The kind of action I had, which was very side-on, I needed to be flexible and have an elastic body. We were jogging, running, sprinting freaks. When Imran was there, we would run five laps before we did anything. Being in the gym - it was all about looking good.

Do you agree that stamina is more important to a fast bowler than anything else to generate speed?
Stamina and endurance always help. You just need to have a heart to keep running. My bowling was my training, because I had a long run-up and I would bowl a good six to seven overs on the trot and then have a break of 30-40 minutes before returning for a short burst of three overs. All that without bowling a no-ball. Even Aaqib and the rest of that lot, we just ran fast. We used to tell each other: we are not bowling a no-ball, even in the nets. We are going to bowl within our limits and then try and trouble the batsman. Even now as a coach I tell the guys never to bowl a no-ball in the nets. It puts all your energy and effort to waste otherwise.

Are fast bowlers more protected now?
Biomechanists probably would disagree with me, but based on my experience, most fast bowlers in the 1980s and '90s never had people telling us to change or modify our actions, and that if we did not do it we would break our backs. Your body is your best judge. It learns over a period of time to adapt. These days Level 3 and 4 coaches put a lot of emphasis on certain specifics due to the numerous video cameras that have come into play. But I have always believed in allowing the bowler to play with his body and understand the best position and action for himself.

Take the case of Ishant. When he first came on the scene, I thought: here is a good bowler with an open-chested action, tall and hits the deck and gets bounce. Then he started making changes in his action, going wider, started losing pace and rhythm. He is looking better now, but in the last two years he had lost it. I do not know whether it was the coaches who tried fiddling with him or whether it was his own decision.

What was he doing wrong?
He did not get wickets because he was bowling a little short of length. He reminds me of Javagal Srinath, who bowled a similar length throughout his career. With his body and the momentum he generated through his run-up, Srinath should have taken a lot of wickets, but he did not pitch the ball up. Venkatesh Prasad, with limited ability, pitched it up and did well.

Bowling is all about bringing the batsman forward: you have to make him come at least halfway in front, keep him guessing. Unless you are playing on fast pitches, like Perth of the past, there is no point pitching back of a length. Young fast bowlers in the subcontinent predominantly play on flat pitches at home, so you have to adapt first at home and be more consistent. Yes, the pitches are flat, they are slow, but you have to learn. We learned it too.

Why are Australia so good? Why were England so good against Australia and India in the last few years? They pitched the ball up. Look at the best bowlers, like Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock or anyone else - they would pitch the ball up. You have to bring the nicks into play. You cannot give the batsman time to go back and play once the ball has pitched. You have to attack the stumps. You have got to make the batsman play. Especially with the new ball. You cannot allow the batsman to settle early on. You have to pitch it in his areas of discomfort. Once he settles, he will be comfortable in any area you pitch.

How did you learn to unsettle the batsman?
Over the years what I learned came through my own experience. I got hit [for runs] myself, but I learned through that. The more you get hit, the more you learn. Take a look at my overall strike rate or runs per over - it was higher than most of the bowlers. Around that time, if there was a bowling coach it could have been different. We were just told "Aage phainkon, dande udaaon [Pitch it up, send the stumps flying]."

I rarely relied on the slips. My main aim was to target those stumps. If you aim six balls in an over, at least once the batsman might miss. Yes, he might also hit you for fours, but if I pitch 12, 14, 18, 20 deliveries continuously on the off stump, the batsman is bound to miss at least once. It will get me that one wicket.

Reverse swing taught me a lot. You need to pitch it fuller to reverse, so you adjust your lengths. Fast bowling is all about belief also: if I do this, this might happen. You need to impose yourself on a batsman with your own belief.

You said that reverse swing came naturally to you. Can you explain?
Nobody really taught me reverse swing. When I saw others doing it in international cricket, when I saw Wasim doing it, Imran Khan doing it, I felt it was easy. Honestly, I did not know how I did that. I played very few domestic matches before breaking into the Pakistan team.

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis chat, Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, 1st day, December 6, 1990
"Me and Wasim would stand at mid-off and mid-on, good positions to learn about what the bowler is trying, and we would talk to each other and quickly grasp the subtleties" © Getty Images

I played in an Under-19 Test match against India and bowled quick but sprayed it all around. I was dropped. I went back to domestic cricket and played for Union Bank of Lahore against Pakistan National Shipping Corporation on a green top. The ball started swinging and I did not know how it was happening. It was conventional swing. I got six wickets. I was picked for the final Test against the Indian Under-19s again, which included Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia, Jatin Paranjape. I picked up five wickets.

Later on, Imran polished my reverse-swing skills. The big part of his coaching was that he never interfered much during the matches. If I told him "Outswing is happening", he would only say, "Okay, bowl outswing." He would never tell me where to bowl from, what to bowl. I did go against his suggestions at times, but he never felt bad, because he knew I was learning. He understood that the youngster is going against my views, but if he feels that he can do it, then it is good. That really helped me.

An essential part of reverse swing is maintaining the condition of the ball. Can you describe your method?
I knew how to take care of the ball. You make sure you do not put too much sweat on it. You have to keep the right balance between keeping one side shining and the other side very dry.

Everyone does reverse swing these days. But during my day it was a controversial issue, with allegations of tampering flying around. Reverse swing is an art. And I still honestly believe that art has not been explored. Very few have managed it: Darren Gough, Lasith Malinga and probably myself. You need a certain kind of bowling action to execute reverse swing. Of course, Wasim was an exception. He was lethal because he was a left-armer. With a very high action, reverse swing is not as effective. Brett Lee did it too, but if you have a side-on action, reverse becomes more effective. And remember this: it is not swinging the ball, it is about dipping the ball. And when you have a side-on action, the ball dips more.

Also, you do not need to have the seam upright, as is the case in conventional swing. The seam should be slightly tilted. So, say, you have the seam tilted towards first slip, with the shiny side on your right, and you are bowling a (reverse) inswinger. The ball will move towards the first slip, but around the 20th yard it will dip. That is when the batsman could take his eye off the ball. It works well with a side-on-action bowler mostly. With a high-arm action, the batsman can judge it at a good distance once the ball has been released, as to which way the shine is.

How does Malinga keep coming up with those reverse-swinging yorkers? You can't even block them at times. That is because at a certain point, as the delivery is coming towards him, the batsman takes his eyes off it. I know this only because it happened when I was bowling, and I was hitting the stumps more than anyone else, just like Malinga does now. About a metre and a half from the batting crease, the ball starts dipping. The batsman thinks it is in his batting area and takes his eyes off. Some batsmen are good and look at the ball till the very last instant. But at least 80% plant their foot to kill the swing. They get lbw or get bowled by a yorker.

According to Allan Donald, ball-tampering should be made legal. What is your opinion?
What is tampering? Let me ask that question first to all the pundits. Is applying Vaseline or creams on the ball tampering? Is scratching the ball tampering? Is picking the seam tampering? All these are ways of tampering, because according to the law, you are changing the condition of the ball. Even in the 1970s and '80s, famous fast bowlers would use their nails to pick the seam. But now everybody is able to get reverse swing, so nobody is worried. You have so many cameras in the game now, but nobody is worried. Why was it only in the 1990s, when we got the ball to reverse, that people questioned us? Because we were too good. I bet there is still some sort of tampering going on: people using mints, nails etc. Now there is a law stating fielders in the inner circle have to throw directly and not hit the surface before it reaches the wicketkeeper. But what about the outfielder with a weak arm? People will always find ways. So I am not sure if making tampering legal is a solution, because it only will make things ugly. Batsmen will obviously cry foul.

Are you saying reverse swing cannot be achieved without doing one of the aforementioned things?
No, you can achieve reverse swing without resorting to any of those means. A major part of getting the ball to reverse is done by the pitch, because you are landing the ball on that, and if you know which side to land it on, you will get the job done.

How do you control the swing?
Reverse swing and control come with the condition of the ball: when it is really old, it swings more, and then you have to bowl accordingly, and the energy you put in is different. So when it is reversing big, you have to aim at a different place, and when it reverses less you land differently and use the crease a lot. If the ball is 50 overs old, it will probably swing more, and if it is 30 overs old it will swing less. As for what is the earliest the ball can reverse, it depends on the pitch. If the pitch is really abrasive and devoid of grass, the ball could start reversing after 15 or 20 overs.

"Aggression is good and that is towards the batsman, but within yourself you need to be calm and sensible. I was thinking inside myself what the batsman was planning and how I needed to out-manoeuvre him"

When do you decide to bowl the yorker: at the start of the run-up, mid-stride or just before delivery?
Most things in bowling, you decide before you start running. There are very few occasions when you are mid-stride and you change your plans. Also, your plans are set based on the batsman. So by the time you take that final leap, you know what you are doing.

Mike Selvey, the former England fast bowler, wrote that you don't bowl or aim a yorker, you feel it instead.
That is a very good comment. It is not like you are aiming at a certain place. You feel it and you tell yourself you are going to do it and it is going to be there. You can ask Malinga and even he will tell you that he never aims the yorker at a particular spot. It is another thing that he bowls too many yorkers for my liking. He can be a lot more effective if he bowls the length ball more. But a yorker is a delivery that one needs to feel - you feel the energy is going to shift, the momentum is going to shift.

Is the yorker dead as an ODI weapon? Batsmen have kind of worked it out so that balls of a full length which got wickets ten years ago often get hit for fours now.
I do not agree. If you see the real fast bowlers, they are still successful at executing the yorker, and at will. Yes, the batsman is more alert and aware now, especially against reverse-swinging yorkers. Yes, you are not going to get as many wickets as we did, because during my time only the bowlers knew more about reverse swing, not the batsmen. We would cover it. Now the batsmen look at which side is shining and how the bowler is holding the ball. What that has done is forced the bowler to rethink his strategy.

The variation of the slower ball is a creation of modern cricket. Take the back-of-the-hand slower ball, which Jade Dernbach, the England fast bowler, delivers really well. I don't know how he does it because I cannot do it, especially with a good arm speed.

Does the new ICC rule about using two new balls in an ODI hurt fast bowlers?
It is already hurting bowlers, especially in the subcontinent. You should have seen the last Asia Cup. Fast bowlers are going to be finished. I am glad I am not playing, in a way. A fast bowler has to be a lot smarter now. With batsmen carrying a thick piece of wood in their hand, you should bowl away from them when they move. In our days, umpires would signal anything out of reach of the batsman as a wide. Now you have the tramlines, so you should use them cleverly. I can see a lot of fast bowlers already aiming at those lines, and that is good.

Who are your all-time best fast bowlers?
I can only talk of fast men I saw. Malcolm Marshall was extraordinary. Glenn McGrath was not really quick, but was amazingly skilful. He was a good classical seam bowler. Whenever we went to Australia, we would say he is tall, he gets bounce on the hard pitches at home, it is very hard to face him, considering the nagging lengths he bowls. Let us see if he is good enough when he tours Pakistan. He came to Pakistan twice - in 1994 and 1998 - and picked up 19 wickets on those two tours. He was smart. Mind you, I am talking of fast bowlers during my time outside of Pakistan. Otherwise Wasim Akram would be up there - such an amazing talent.

Talking about the fast men at the moment, Dale Steyn is the best in any conditions. James Anderson is good too. I would have put Zaheer Khan of two years ago in the same bracket, because he was using his experience cleverly then. He has lost a little bit of sting now. He bowls very well with the new ball, but by the time he comes back for later spells, the speed dies. It is the age, really. Injuries have caught up with him. By the time you are 34 or 35, in the morning when you wake up, your ankle, knee, back hurt. You have to really mentally gear yourself up to inspire yourself. It is not an easy job.

You once said about Akram: "He contributed to 50% of my success. We shared the burden and complemented each other."
That is a fact. What he did for me while I was playing was amazing. As I said earlier, we would stand at mid-off or mid-on and chat to each other. He had a big hand in my performances and the wickets I took. He had a lot more control with the ball in hand than I had. What I probably gained from his success is, I wanted to take more wickets than him in every game. He might say the same if you ask him. That was a healthy competition we had. He was, and is still, a great friend.

Did you guys take wickets at times by the sheer weight of reputation?
You could say that about the tailenders. When we were bowling at the top batsmen, they knew they had their reputation at stake. What really satisfies a fast bowler is when the batsman is a lot more alert and using his skills to the maximum. So when you bowl against a Lara or a Tendulkar, he knows he can't give away his wicket easily. It is a healthy competition between bat and ball.

Dale Steyn at the top of his run-up, Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2009
"Look at Dale Steyn. He bowls at 150kph-plus and he swings it big. Big bananas come out of his hand" © PA Photos

But towards the end of your career, did you manage to take wickets by the sheer force of your personality? Take the seven-wicket haul against England in the ODI in 2001.
That was one hell of a tournament. Two days later I took six wickets against Australia. Both those performances came because of my experience more than personality. The conditions were very conducive to fast bowling and it was a simple matter of pitching the ball in the right place. And to do that you need a lot of bowling behind you. I did not bowl very quick. I bowled like a medium-pacer, but I swung the ball like anything. It comes with age.

Pace, skill, accuracy, aggression, courage are what make a good fast bowler. What more can you add to the list?
You need calmness also. Aggression is good and that is towards the batsman, but within yourself you need to be calm and sensible. That is one reason I was not interested in hitting batsmen. I had the pace but I never bowled successive bouncers in a row to hit or hurt someone. I was thinking inside myself what the batsman was planning and how I needed to out-manoeuvre him. You need fire in the belly but also an icy head. You can disturb the batsman with a smile by saying something that is not explicitly a sledge. You need to look into the batsman's eyes and unsettle him. Of course, it can backfire and there are batsmen who can stare back at you. Robin Smith was an exception. He would give it back to you. Then there were the Aussies. So being calm in those instances is the key. Because you then turn back and switch off and plan the next delivery. You learn with the passage of time.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Nagraj Gollapudi

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 19, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

@ Liza Khan: I agree. I am not even saying that Ajay Jadeja was better than Waqar. And this is definitely not about India vs. Pakistan. I strongly believe that Wasim and Waqar were elite bowlers in a different league altogether.

Posted by dsig3 on (October 19, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

Facinating. Watching those guys bowl here in Australia is what attracted me to cricket as a youngster. There was something mysterious and threatening about them. They both were really quick and could do things with the ball that nobody could explain.

Posted by John-Price on (October 18, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

"For about the first five seasons I was not given the new ball." In actual fact,he started taking the new ball on the England tour in 1992, immediately after Imran retired and two and a half years after his debut.

Posted by vijujack on (October 18, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

Back in those days, watching the 2 W's bowl electrified me as much as it terrified my friends who were ardent Indian team supporters - they even called me a traitor. But how could one not enjoy cricket, with these two bowlers at their peak, making the ball talk? So nice to read Waqar talking the walk here, in an articulate manner- hearing him on live TV did not do anything for much as much as this article does. May your tribe increase Waqar.... And kudos Nagaraj for this piece

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

Wonderful Interview of a great cricketer!!! Thanks to cricinfo.

Posted by Feroz9700 on (October 18, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Wasim and Waqar gave buqar (fever) to many batsman. They were absolutely wonderful cricketers who made fast bowling look like an art. Two legends of the game could make the ball talk.

Posted by nlambda on (October 18, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

This is the kind of intelligent, insightful interview one likes to come to cricinfo for. Please do more of these instead of "tell me about your childhood" type conversations. Re: fitness: Kapil Dev too had attributed his extraordinary fitness as a fast bowler to just running a lot. Nowadays bowlers pump weights and think they are being fit but they do not run for 2-3 hours. This is why every 18 months they break down.

Posted by shiva89 on (October 18, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

stand up and applaud this pace maestro. cricket is equal for one and all... here no indian is different from a pakistani... every legend is a legend for all. wishes from an indian brother.

Posted by Rolling_in_The_Deep on (October 18, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Lets start Knowledge Transfer Programs between india & pakistan.. Let Pakistan send Wasim & Waqar to train the fast bowlers and in return India send Rahul Dravid & Sunil Gavaskar to coach the pakistani batsmen.. that would be fun.. lolz..

Posted by tanveers on (October 18, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

Waqar no doubt is one the best fast bowler of all time. Go to youtube and watch Waqar's 90+ mph banana in-swinging yorkers. But I feel pity for a few narrow minded people. They feel wrongly obligated to publish negative comments for such a legend. Love the sports, love the players for what they are not--not which country they belong to. Learn to appreciate. I for one appreciate good bowling and batting regardless of which country the player represent. I have high regards for Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis, KP, Amla, Steyn and even the past greats like, Richards, Hadlee, Imran Khan, Donald, Marshall, Ambrose, Dravid, Lara, Warne, McGrath and many more.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (October 18, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

Awesome- is only the word to describe these guys (the Ws!) Equally heartening to see Waqar follows cricket closely and globally. Hats off!

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

A very good insight on the fast bowling and a great interview and article by Cricinfo after ages ... A Ture Legend of Crictet ... Sir Waqar Younus

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

Amazing Interview Nagraj. Absolutely stunning questions and classy answers by the Pace Maestro. Certainly, a treat for any fast bowling lover!!!!

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (October 18, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

Nagraj, I would have to say this is one of your best interviews/articles without any doubt. It's no surprise when Aussies produce fast bowlers but I am still baffled and at awe as to how Pakistan does it day in and day out. Being from a subcontinent country and one who is offered dust bowls Waqar and Waseem are by far the best fast bowling duo the world has ever produced. Entire India loves Imran, Waqar and Waseem as we can never dream of such a sight (fast bowling) in India. As someone rightly said if 1947 partition had not hapenned I think all the world cups would have stayed here. More respect for this great fast bowler who is not only a great fast bowler but also a gentleman.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

"People rely on the gym more now than during our times.You just need to have a heart to keep running. My bowling was my training", coaches, biomechanists,trainers,should learn from this great fast bowler

Posted by Romanticstud on (October 18, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

I remember the first big major tournament in South Africa ... Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and I think Sri-Lanka were in it ... Waqar showed the perfect demonstration on how to bowl at the death ... He got a hat-trick all bowled ... BRILLIANT ... I hope he coaches more swing bowlers ... especially death bowlers ... He would have been required by Pakistan in the T20s and would have done very well ... The only bowler that has got good control at the death in modern cricket is Dale Steyn ... in T20s only 1 six has been hit off him ...

Posted by beaman on (October 18, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

such a nice article very helpful for young fast bowlers around the globe. PCB re-appoint Waqar as a bowling coach before Aussie reconsider him for bowling coach for his national team.

Posted by mtalhas on (October 18, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

@ soumya roy..u can read imran khan's interview in which he said akram was more talented of the two but waqar was mentally more stronger and never gave up.i remember various matches where waqar snatched away victory from the opposition in the last few overs, often completing the job in style on the last ball of the match! its pointless to compare wasim and waqar as both of them were different types and again numbers are not everything.it is very rightly said that waqar is the finest to have emerged from pakistan after fazal mahmood!

Posted by Hamzaad on (October 18, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

"Posted by Bublu Bhuyan on (October 18 2012, 04:31 AM GMT)

I'll always remember the epic trashing that Jadeja and co. gave him in the 96' WC, and the other trashing that Tendulkar and co. gave him in the 03' WC. Averages a laughable cringe worthy 78 against India in Tests, and 35 odd against Australia in Tests. The single most overrated bowler in the history of the game."

Just check the stats before throwing shit from your gutter mouth. Waqar played only 4 test matches against India getting 4 wickets, while against Aussies his avg is 33.80. you are talking of a bowler who has taken 789 Intl wickets ....with 35 5 wicket hauls ...shame on you for ridiculing him for just two bad matches !

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (October 18, 2012, 9:18 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

one of the legendary fast bowler & my ideal @ Soumya roy every one has there only opinion but waqar would have taken more wickets than wasim if he had played 2 years more i'm not asking wasim is not good both are legendary fast bowlers

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (October 18, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

@Bublu bhayanak,U R RITE MATE.NOT ONLY HIM B MAJORITY OF INDIAN BATSMEN INCLUDING DRAVID,LAXMAN,GANGULY,YOVRAJ,GAMBHIR R NT ONLY OVR.RATD BT EXTREMELY OVR.RATD by any strech of imaginatn,dravid was nevr a match winer especialy in odis,gambhir,yuvraj r flat track batrs,laxman had a miserabl avrage in odis n Was jst ok in tests(DNT WRY I Already Know their stats courtesy cricinfo statsguru)

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

This interview not only determines that not only he was an awesome cricketer, he is a gentle and humble peer too. We all know about his misunderstandings and clashes with Wasim on and off the field, still he regards him as the best bowler in the world and accepts that he learned a lot from him. Respect for the seniors is something that is missing from the current pool of players playing for Pakistan.

Posted by sharidas on (October 18, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

ONE of my favourite fast bowlers and after reading this article "my favourite". I have never read such a clear, unadulterated interview. This interview should be a text book reading for all aspiring fast bowlers. I liked his outlook on the gym. I have always felt that excessive gym workouts to build muscle can affect the way one bowls. For Eg. building up the triceps will certainly change the bowling action.

Posted by Azzlan on (October 18, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

He is such a great legend and genius! He learnt not only fast bowling but also to communicate people around the globe. One of the Best Interviews I have ever witnessed. The way he answered each and every question shows how his character. Stand up for the legend.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

Waqar Yousns is wrong in saying Prasad did good than Srinath. For example, In Test, Srinath Avg is 30.49 while Prasad average is 35.00. In ODI's Srinath has also better average of 28 than Prasad's 32. Srinath's ODI Economy of 4.44 is also better than Prasad's 4.67. Don't know what Waqar is pointing to?

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

I'll always remember the epic trashing that Jadeja and co. gave him in the 96' WC, and the other trashing that Tendulkar and co. gave him in the 03' WC. Averages a laughable cringe worthy 78 against India in Tests, and 35 odd against Australia in Tests. The single most overrated bowler in the history of the game.

Posted by Udendra on (October 18, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Good questions and Good answers.

Posted by vaidyar on (October 18, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

See. This is what you get when you have bowlers as captains. They understand bowling! Not like in India where batsmen generally are captains. Fast bowling's a tradition for them - Sarfraz. Imran and then passing along the baton to the Ws. Too bad Shoaib didn't have the smartness or fitness to learn and improve. You can see it in Hyd producing wristy masters all the time - Jai, Azhar and VVS. Traditions, not coincidences. Either way I really believe bowlers should be captains as they understand the game a lot better. Batsmen are always around just 2 at a time & you don't have a captain controlling their innings.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

This is really a beautiful Interview about one of the great Pacers.

Posted by chaitukash79 on (October 18, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

Excellent interview. What a legend - definitely one of the finest bowler that cricket's ever produced. I can never forget that imposing run ups and the perfect trajectory yorkers. Just unbelievable stuff. As an India fan I would fell miserable when he ran through the middle and lower order like a hot knife through butter - but I could still not help but stand up and applaud. Wasim Akram, Imran Khan and Waqar - what a trio!

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

I agree that Waqar was lethal and on his day could turn around a game in a matter of few deliveries but he was nowhere as mind-numbingly brilliant as Wasim Akram. He is the greatest bowler i have seen. Leave aside his all round abilities.....he was the true sultan of swing with pace. Wasim's wrist position was always without fail perfectly straight. I am not saying the 2 were chalk and cheese but as a batsman I would fear Waseem a lot more than Waqar.....i do not wish to undermine the greatness of Waqar by saying so.

Posted by AhmedSaeed on (October 18, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Waqar is my all time favourite fast bowler, haven't seen a better genuine fast bowler ever. Best run up, rhythm, pace , swing , arrogance , he had everything. When fast bowlers of this day deviate the ball an inch, we think ohh this guy can make the ball talk , Waqar used to make it Sing!!

Posted by Ravishankara on (October 18, 2012, 1:53 GMT)

Imran, Wasim & Waqar showed it to the world that you can be classy and bowl really fast

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

Great interview, what a legend.

Posted by JBerger on (October 18, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

Just the tear-away run-up of WAQA was a great sight to behold, let alone the toe-crushing yorker or his uniquely exaggerated banana swings. Wiki was Men's Man of fast bowling after the Late MM. After MM I always found WAQA the only Lion-hearted among the fast bowlers. Quite often I wondered why he never hit the batsmen more often while he was quicker than all but his comment, "You need fire in the belly but also an icy head", says it all. With his knowledge of the game as well as his accurate observation of all the bowlers new or old, CA definitely has missed the trick by not hiring him. The guy with his insight of the game, unmatched skill for his trade, regards for other players, his behaviour on/off the field, is simply legendary. Wish to see him carving and trooping new breeds of fast bowlers at International level again. At the end I can't help to end without saying WAQA, U DA MAN. May God bless you.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

Great bowlers are not born... they are made... nice perspective on starting with old ball and ending with new ball...

Posted by anuprakir on (October 17, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

One of the finest fast bowlers ever produced,my all time favourite.I have never seen a better bowling action.Thank you so much for this interview

Posted by rajwanii on (October 17, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

wow...wat an interview...waqar became a complete fast bowler in the late 90's wen he started getting many wickets with the new ball....a genius...respect for my country's great fast bowler...

Posted by Hyderabadi_Nawab on (October 17, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

"That was a healthy competition we had. He was, and is still, a great friend. ...." well I remember reading reports that were quite the opposite. Anyway what a duo to face if you were a batsman. To me Pakistanis have a natural inclination to pace and swing bowling and its a sort of a circle where the next generation gets helped by the past masters - the mystery is why their close cousins, Indians are and have been so bare in the same department. Very good interview and hope to see more of the same

Posted by mikey76 on (October 17, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

Still have vivid memories of the 1992 tour of England when Wasim and Waqar were at their peak. England would routinely get to 200/3 and then get blown away when the ball started to reverse swing. Waqar's inswinging yorker was arguably the most devastating weapon in cricket history. I wish more youngsters would try to emulate it.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

The art invented by Sarfaraz, perfected by Imran from him, learned by Wasim Akram from Imran, and taken to new heights by Waqar who learned on his own just by watching Waseem. Genius bowler, good bowling coach, mediocre fielder, bad batsman, worse captain, worst ever head coach.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Friends believe me I started reading the article but unable to left it incomplete ......................... I always impressed with his personality and calmness which he posses. Even when he was Coach of Pakistan he used to remain very calm as you can see him in Semi final India vs Pakistan. Respect for the Burewala Express.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 21:06 GMT)

I think he was better and deadlier than Wasim Akram, reason why Akram was more popular was because of his batting and fielding. But the sights of those yorkers, none better in the world.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

I want Wasim Akram Waquar Donald and Styne as fast bowlers in my team Wow !

Posted by sams235 on (October 17, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

Thanks for the wonderful interview. Please do the same with Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, and Saeed Anwar. The are amazing players. (Indian supporter here)

Posted by Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on (October 17, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

everybody has his own ideals, but i still remember the reason to watch test cricket in 90's..... it was to wait for the ball to get 30 overs old and come in the hands of waqar younis..... than sit and watch the magic for one-two spells.... mostly he pumped the blood out of opposition in one spell.... and i could not help control my excitement watching those toe crushers... :) great emassidor of swing bowling on dead pitches

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

Bio-mechanists wouldn't earn their bread if they didn't tinker with nearly everybody. Boards and bowlers need to stand up to the "bio-mechanists". Let a bowler have 4 great years with a risk of a major breakdown rather than 8 average years with minor breakdowns anyway.

Posted by warrenburton on (October 17, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Waqar and Donald were my favourite cricketers growing up - the reason why I wanted to bowl fast.

Posted by JohnnyHopkins on (October 17, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

Great Interview! Son Insightful, makes me want to go and run in off the long run again!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:44 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

Waqar- My Favorite fast bowler till date, As a kid i was so impressed by his bowling style that I tried to imitate his bowling style but was never successful with that. Takes me back to those days where I dreamt of bowling like Waqar every night.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

Simply the legend. kept it simple,did what his captain asked him to do with full dedication.. JUST BOWL FAST. nothing else. Wonder what set Indian and Pakistani fast bowlers apart as in both countries pitches and weather are same!! Best interview. Really glad to hear the legend. Hope budding Indian pacers could read this interview.

Posted by ansram on (October 17, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

What an interview, right from the words of a true champion.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

One of my Favourite bowler.... few come close to him... !!! Wasim and Waqar...the best,...!!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

WoW! What an article this is! I think this is the best article I have read so far in cricinfo. This man waqar is a genius. Every information he has given are facts and truly the experience speaks! I only hope all the youngstes who read this article just go back to bowling fast, so that we can see astonishing cricket in future. Thanks cricinfo.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

These guys need some respect, ICC should use these great bowlers to revive the art of fast/swing bowling. Guys like waqar, wasim, donald, pollock have so much to contribute to cricket. i have always loved watching waqar, and i remember the old days when he would charge-in open chested wearing those heavy gold chains... would bowl quick and straight, it is one of the best sights in cricket.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

Is there a way of showing the magnitude of my regret that I could not see the 2Ws in tandem for much? :( NO WAY.. I still watch Waqar Younis on Youtube and just sit in awe of what this man could do with 12oz!

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

I do not see waqar getting wickets early but he is absolute terror for tailenders. His toe crushing yorkers were legendary. He is probably number 1 bowler against tailenders. That does n't mean he is bad against openers. He can be negotiated with technically sound batsman until ball starts to swing. I feel fast bowling is not everything. You need to make batsman guess line and length and make a gamble , if your action and speed can do it , you are great bowler. waqar action is protypical how fast bowler to bowl.Wasim akram was on a different plane (probably best fast bowler because he made ball to talk in any pitch and any time. Only reason he did n't take as many wickets lbecause pakistan other fast bowlers took rest.). Each one model their swing in their own body balance position. You have to make every ways to hide where the ball coming from until last minute without losing speed. Waqar never slowed down on delivery thats because of his strong body that can able to handle it.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

Really good article after a long time. Rather one of the best's on cricinfo. What a bowler he was and great analysis and answers. Love you waqar

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

@Al_Bundy1. Your comments require a LIKE button dude.

Posted by keecha on (October 17, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

Whoa, what an interview? That probably is a wake up call for our Indian bowlers. It is as simple as pitching it up. Pitch it up guys when the English are visting. Am Indian but gotta admire this guy for his skill. Synonymous with Yorker and getting batsmen bowled. With due respect to Akash Chopra and other specialist batsmen who sometimes write technical articles about spin and quick bowling, though interesting and informative, I would feel something missing in those columns. I found it complete today. Still wondering what that is..

Posted by mgr125128 on (October 17, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

Wasim and Waqar thrived in an era when cold drink bottles had metallic caps and no HD zoom cameras existed. The day HD cameras zoomed in and cold drinks had plastic caps , Pakistani bowling reverse swing or any swing declined and came to terms with other teams. Strange coincidence this

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

Great piece of knowledge.. astounding bowler he was. simply fast and furious

Posted by cric_freak88 on (October 17, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

one of the most detailed interview on reverse swing i've come accross. he's such a legend.the minutest of details have been discussed. would like to thank cricinfo for this interview!

Posted by EngineerKhan on (October 17, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

Awesome interview...Greatness is shown the way he always talks highly about Wasim and McGrath and in fact gives evidences to support their greatness. I have never found Tendulkar, McGrath or anyone talking this way about him. He is really a great person. And he is spot on about wrist position - I remember I once bowled a delivery by delibrately changing the action and hence wrist position at last second and it resulted in much upright wrist and ball pitched outside left hander's leg stump and ended up being a wide (on a cement pitch)

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (October 17, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

What a gem of an article. Need more articles from legends like Waqar. So much insight on the art of fast bowling

Posted by PPD123 on (October 17, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

Awesome article. Man with genuine experience. He has been there and done it. I will re-iterate what I said in one of the comments earlier, India to be a genuine force in world cricket needs to have a 5-8yrs plan to gather a group of 12-15 fast bowlers in the age group of 14-18. These individuals need to be given proper training and guidance. Someone like Wasim/Waqar/Lillee are required to guide them for 5 years. Then they should be sent to Eng/Aus/SA to play in club and county cricket, and only then they should be brought into the national team, aged around 21-22 yrs with some experience on how to bowl around the world. BCCI has the money. It needs to speak to people like Kumble/Dravid/Ganguly to take up the administration and get this done. The current lot of BCCI administrator are not upto it. IPL is doing its bit to fill the BCCI coffers, now they really need to show fore sight and do what it takes to get indian cricket back to the top.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

gREat WAqar but why icc is trying to endup pak pacers u fans good feel im nt fan im future superstar :P

Posted by mumbaiguy79 on (October 17, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

This guy exudes class whatever he does..what a fantastic cricketer!!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

I wonder if bowlers are being told "just bowl fast" now days. I think thats whats going on in Australia with Pattinson, Cummins, Starc and Siddle. I don't know if in India that is coming. I wonder also if the riches of IPL are teaching fast bowlers, its better to appear economical than wicket taking.

Posted by akasavani on (October 17, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

Fantastic conversation. I have watched Waqar all my life and knew so little about him. He is intelligent and wise.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (October 17, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

This must be one of the best interviews ever published on Cricinfo!! Waqar Younis basically presented a manual on the art of reverse swing. This should be a required text for all fast bowlers, especially from the sub-continent. His observations about why Ishant went wicketless in Australia and England, and why Zaheer has lost his sting were spot on. After reading this article, every thing becomes crystal clear. More articles like this please, Cricinfo.

Posted by Kak-mal_Khan on (October 17, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

An absolute pleasure to have grown up as a Pakistan fan in the era of the two "W's". Loved every minute of it, with them in the side their always remained that belief of late order collapse. We all liked Wasim, and appreciated he was the better economical and reliable bowler of the two. But for all of that, I think all Pakistani kids (even the young West Indian Usain Bolt) aspired to be like Waqar - he had the coolest of bowling actions and the venomous stump destroying, toe crushing late inswinging yorkers - 1992 England series, just ask Botham!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

respect respect respect respect respect respect

Posted by vikkii on (October 17, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

What a terrific bowler he was.. Extra ordinary speed and unbelievable swing.. I appreciate him for accepting the fact that wasim had more control over the ball than him. Being an Indian, I have always wondered how Pakistan could produce the world class fast bowlers though being brought up in same conditions that we have in India. Waqar and Wasim are probably the best new ball opening bowlers in late 80's and early 90's who could destroy any batting unit apart..

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

This is a fantastic read ... so many lessons, astute little points from one of the greats of the game! It's also very generous of Waqar to have agreed to share in such detail. Having played the game, even if at far less demanding US leagues and clubs - I can vouch for one thing: for sustained fast bowling, match-fit is always better than gym-fit. Even Brett Lee said the same: running, shoulder and calf exercises are what really builds your bowling muscles. Hearfelt regards from an Indian fan!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

my dear indian friends,if u cant digest a praise for this legend,then at least dont spoil this article by mentioning total flops like jadayja's name who stands no where in history.pakistani bowlers always had an upper hand on indian batsmen and by mentioning a few series or matches this reality cannot be denied.a few bad performances by any legend dont take the gloss off his records.there is no point in making those same commens and stop praising tendulkar over here bcz it results in loss of self respect while damaging tendulkar's repo.positive comments will outnumber ur comments and there will be nothing but a heartburn for u :)

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

good article.let it be there on the front page.this man is a legend and he has summarised a manual of fast bowling in one interview,thus increasing my admiration for him.he sits on the top of my list despite lagging behind akram n mcgrath in numbers.but thats greatness which is ahead of numbers.i play tape ball street cricket n my success on the circuit has been bcz of a waqarish action.nice to read positive comments frm around the wrld.this article explained me why ppl idlolise players so much :)

Posted by cricket-india on (October 17, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

great interviwe, among the best in cricinfo; amazed with the insights provided by waqar, really enjoyed his analysis of srinath, zak, prasad and ishant. india needs him (not 'guys like him;' HIM) as bowling coach!!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

@Balani. Well done for placing a positive comment. Otherwise, some people seem to persist in posting negative comments under the guise of anonymity on the net. Pity for such small minded people.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

It's amazing how often Imran's name gets mentioned by former players. I guess, when you have a good and knowledgeable leader, everything automatically falls into place. All the best to Waqar.

Posted by loveNpeace on (October 17, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

he is one of my favorite cricketers all time. what a bowler......wasin akram too...... young fast bowlers should learn from this legends. thank you waqar for entertaining us for a long time. be safe bro. wishes from sri lanka

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (October 17, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

ICC (de facto: BCCI) is trying to destroy the art of bowling with their new laws for T20 crores.. the "bouncer law" should be removed...it is like banning more than one sixer in an over...

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (October 17, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Excellent interview with some fascinating insights. Waqar's observations on Riaz was particularly interesting and his comments on fast bowlers looking after themselves with running and bolwing reinforces what Kapil Dev has said many times about Indian bowlers - that should they run marathons to reduce the risk of injuries. unless bowlers are doing cardiovascular work, spending time in the gym building muscle is counterproductive for bowlers. More articles like this please Cricinfo.

Posted by smalishah84 on (October 17, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

What a wonderful interview Nagraj. One of the best things to show up on cricinfo in a while. I learned so much about fast bowling with this.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

@KiwiRocker - Nice excuses about Wasim, Waqar, etc being past their best when bowling to SRT. It's funny how 10 years after their retirement, Sachin continues scoring centuries.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

What a brilliant piece...I wish we had someone like him guiding our fast bowlers and not one of the erstwhile medium pacers who could never "impose" themselves on any batsmen!!

Posted by fan_of_good_cricket on (October 17, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

Excellent Interview! Very informative. A great source for young talents, if they have time to read and understand all this. Waqar has maintained his respect on and off the field. It is great to see him sharing the secrets of fast bowling here.

Posted by InsideHedge on (October 17, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

I've been saying for years that Srinath was an overated bowler, he bowled the same delivery six balls in a row wherever he played: short of a length, outside off and jagging into the right-hander. Quality batsmen would cut and pull him all day long. When he bowled to a leftie, it was the same delivery, now pitching outside the leftie's leg stump and thereby removing any chance of a lbw. Good to see Waqar mentioning this, the fact that he praised Prasad sums up the quality of India's bowling attack in the 90s, it was incredibly poor. 2day's attack, whilst not great, is still superior to the fare offered by Srinath and Prasad.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

@Sumit. Every dog has his day, just like Ajay had against Waqar. But it's amusing to see people, cherry picking a performance to bring someone down a peg. It says a lot about the person's mentality and their inability to be positive. Lage raho :) Anyway, Waqar has always been one of my favourite bowler, along with Ambrose and Shane Bond. Would be neat, if we can have more interviews from past fast bowlers on this site. Cheers.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

Excellent interview its a must read for all the fast bowlers and for those who want to learn about swing & reverse swing bowling.

Posted by SameerT20Wcup2012 on (October 17, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

Gem!!! The Questions and the Answers! One of the best interviews i've read. Waqar is a true legend. The current generation should learn from him.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Very insightful interview

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

@Jayendra. Every Cricketer has their good and bad days. Even Tendulker had bad days, when he got out cheaply against average bowlers. So, Ajay getting lucky on one occasions doesn't mean, he ended Waqar career. In fact, Waqar enjoyed a successful career and still is fondly remembered. While Jadeja, who is a footnote in Cricket history, is known for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by maratha96k on (October 17, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Top 5 bowling spells of waqar younis where he was extremely quick: 1. The triangular series in south africa 1994 (pak/rsa/wi) 2. The mandela cup 1993-94 (pak/rsa/sl/nzl) 3. england tour 1992 4. wi tour 1993 5. new zealand tour 1994 probably

Posted by ultrasnow on (October 17, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

@kiwirocker - Indian fan here. About Sachin never being tested by the two Ws at their peak. I'd rather look at things the other way around. Imagine them playing ALONGSIDE him and other Indian batting greats in the same line-up. We need to change our mindsets. Appreciate the pluses on both the sides. Our batting rocks while your bowling rocks. There will never be another Wasim/Waqar. We hope there'll be another Sachin though, lol.

Posted by maratha96k on (October 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

I think the reason for india lacking real fast bowlers as compared to pakistan is:

1. The naturally strong and tall people of subcontinent are mostly the sikhs/jats/gujjars/rajputs/pathans from pakistani punjab, Indian punjab, haryana . I am sure Imran khan, waqar, wasim, auqib even though from pakistan belong to one of the caste I mentioned. May be some pakistani can confirm on this. 2. unlike pakistan Unfortunately even today...indian sikhs, jats hardly play cricket, They love their hockey and kabaddi. The jats/gujjars love the games which are physical.Come to state of punjab and haryana , even the local district level teams will have players physical stronger than australian rugby team. 3. Cricket in india is mostly played by brahmin community(sachin, saurav, rahul, srinath, kumble, prasad,laxman) who are dedicated and hardworking, But are not naturally strong and hence we see many good batsman But no bowlers. I can bet you if the MRF academy was started in amritsar inste

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

such important information...amazing article !!

Posted by maratha96k on (October 17, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

@ KiwiRocker..I would like to make a small correction to your comment on the blood linkage...the subcontinent is just to varied when it comes to races and blood stuff....If you really want to categorise the subcontinent by that..the divisions would be:- 1.North west frontier state pakistan(central asian orgins) 2. Pakistani punjab+Indian punjab+haryana 3.north indian plain states of UP, bihar, rajastan, sindh 4.. east+west bengal 5. south India 6. north east india (mongloid race). I would really agree to the fact that diet(meaty) is the most factor for good body...I will tell u the reason why india does not produce fast bowlers: 1.The strongest people of India physically belong to states of haryana/Punjab. 2.Unfortunately both these states have strong traditional sporting culture..for games like kabaddi/hockey and believe me ...the ones really interested in cricket are those who cannot play physical games like hockey/kabaddi...cricket is hardly played by Hindu/sikh jats,rajputs

Posted by SuperSaj on (October 17, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

KiwiRocker- You might want to catch up a little again on the history and geography of the region. Two of your major provinces are ethnically replicated in India..Punjab and Sindh (Gujurat/Rajasthan) Only relatively unpopulated Balochistan and the NWFP are not and regards the latter there are probably more nearly an equivalent amount of migrated Pathans across India as there are in Pakland.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Excellent article. I became interested in Cricket mainly due to Waqar Younis. His bowling action, attitude on the field and approach to the game made Cricket, exciting to watch and play. I was lucky enough to meet him near Jade Stadium (now AMI stadium), when Pakistan toured NZ. Being 5'10, I still felt like a dwarf standing next to Waqar :)

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

What a great article on fast bowling and swing. I love Wasim and Waqar - talent, hard work, aggression and so much substance!

Posted by fes121 on (October 17, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

@sumit176 but ajay jadeja career ended b4 waqar...lol

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

Waqar from 1989 till 1996 was just unplayable on most occasions. Only after Ajay Jadeja took him apart in 1996 world cup some batsman could score freely against him. After Wasim and Waqar, cricket hasn't experienced a deadly opening pair. Maybe Steyn and Morne are the best cricket has today.

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (October 17, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

early 90s waqar was amazing .... I remember he started bowling outswing with the new ball in the mid 90s and was a different bowler after that

Posted by Baber_Baloch on (October 17, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

very good interview ...too much info about fast bowling.....Waqar is great bowler..also he telling truth about new age cricket,s fast bowlers.

Posted by rawr94 on (October 17, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

"I was not interested in hitting batsmen". Ask Andrew Symonds if this is true.

Posted by sumit176 on (October 17, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@kiwirocker,,,,and i remember ajay jadeja almost ended waqar's career in 1996...

Posted by satanswish on (October 17, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

What an athlete Waqar was!! It was immense pleasure to watch his long runup and wonderful swing bowling. We really miss fast bowlers like Waqar these days. Real gentleman as well.

Posted by wnwn on (October 17, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

I believe that there is another Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram waiting to emerge but the selectors keep picking old players or failures like Mohammad Sami. They need to identify good young bowlers and play them in test cricket only and should not throw them out after one bad match.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (October 17, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

Rahulnavale: I totally disagree with you. I am not sure where did you get this flawed idea of same blood as actually Indians and Pakistanis are genetically very different people...Afghanistani and Pakistanis probably yes!

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (October 17, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

Waqar Younis has to be one of the unde rated fast bowlers in modern cricket. I feel that Wasim Akram gets too much attention and importance as he was a left armer and unique in his action. Having said that, Waqar Younis had 370 odd wickets in 85 test matches. Waqar Younis had one of the highest strike rates. I will always remember two things about Waqar Younis..Firtly, his bouncer to world cricket's most over rated non performer Tendulya in Sialkot that broke Tendulya's nose....and secondly, his super banana shaped yorkers! One of those yorkers ended Ian Botham's career. It is a pity and real shame that India and Pakistan did not play cricket when Wasim and Waqar were on top and accordingly, Tendulya was never tested against these greats, hence neither Wasim nor Waqar rate him highly as compared to likes of Brian Lara. Pakistan board will be advised to continue engaing a legendary fast bowler like Waqar Younis to groom upcoming bowlers like Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and so on!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

Fantastic... A true legend and all one of the all time favorite.. Being an Indian always been loved to have the bowlers like Imran, Wasim and Waqar... True legends.. hats off and bow down for their skills... Dreaming someday we do get at least one bowler to match or go near to one of their skills...

Posted by SudeepSharma_Nepal on (October 17, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Deeply insightful from Waqar , class of a performer.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

Very nice and informative. I havent seen such a detailed Technical article. Thanks Waqar and Wasim for bringing so much joy to fast bowling. You must teach this art to all Pakistani fast bowlers.

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 17, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

Awsome read. Well said waqar. You can't disagree on anything he said. But for me you need to have minimum requirement satisfied. I always compare fast bowling to a golf swing. in golf it is all about accuracy. beginning first few holes you muscle try to hit as long and accurate. But consistency comes from you able to operate in 50-60% effort to get best most of the time. You have to leave lot in tank (stamina , strength , energy). if indian bowler run 5 laps , he will be even tired to bowl first over in full speed. The difference between pakistani fast bowlers and indian bowlers is diet. Also i feel pakistani bowlers are more gym addict than indian bowlers based on their physical conditions. if i say what you need for fast bowler? 1. Tall (6feet above) and strong. 2. Bowling action such that he delivers the ball late (difference between greatest and normal fast bowlers). if any bowler can deliver ball late , he can land the ball in perfect spot.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

greatest of all time...love u waqar...sir waqar younis..

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

He has always been my hero! A true Pakistani legend:)

Posted by rajneesh2476 on (October 17, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Waqar running in to bowl toe-crushing yorkers is one of the ever-lasting memories of my life. With Wasim they were almost unplayable. An amazing interview which only an honest sportman that he was can give. Excellent read. An Idea for BCCI - Hire him as MRF pace bowling academy head!!

Posted by vatsap on (October 17, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Excellent interview. Thankfully it stayed on topic and didnt meander to the usual personality clashes within the Pakistan team. And what a captain Imran Khan would have been for an youngster, authoritative and encouraging youngsters.

Posted by Rahulnavale on (October 17, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

A very good interview. His tips sound great, especially about the importance of action. I wish some of the passion for fast bowling rubs off on Indians as well. After all, we are the same blood.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

One of the best articles I've read in a while. Learnt so much.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

Waqar, a genuine quick bowler. Good with the old ball so was Wasim but they were a treat to watch when bowling together and Yes, there was healthy competition from both of them to take more wickets. I still think what if 1947 never happened?? Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev ... forgot Windies and in late 90's early 2000 .. Sachin, Anwar, Jadeja, Sidhu, Moin, Wasim, Waqar, Mustaq's (offie and leggie) Australia never had the chance in any World Cup's. Sigh.

Posted by ashankar on (October 17, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Well i really wish Wasim and Waqar start a coaching camp in India :)

Posted by stormy16 on (October 17, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

Great read and I would have liked a bit more insight on how Pakistan continue to produce amazing wicket taking bowlers both pace and spin. I noted the part where the Pakistant youngster look for bowling heros while the Indians to batting heros but that doesnt really explain how and why Pakistan are able to produce such great bowlers - who keep getting dropped for the next lot! Waqur and Wasim are great but there are lots of other quality bowlers since - some who have only played for a short time, but have amazing skills. It must have something to do with wickets or schools cricket or something like that.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (October 17, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

I miss you 2W's. Fast bowling at its best. They were joy to watch. we miss shoiab akhter as well. Its so sad to see current bunch of pakistani bowlers. Amir waisted himself, he could have filled this gap.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Waqar, the legend talking on the art of fast bowling.. Can't get better.This is what the modern day quicks need to learn. Aagey phenko, dande udao!! Fantastic interview. Thouroughly enjoyed reading and wished the interview never ends!! Fantastic by Cricinfo and great job Nagaraj.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 17, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

James Anderson ....really -The one who does pick up a few on tailor made green tops under mostly cloudy skies and a shiny Duke ball ... but who can't really . Just seeing him under 'normal' conditions he is just another of England's sub 80 mph trundlers and he has 2 or three of them for company at all times . It's not surprising England's bowlers have become the 'favorites' of batsmen going around these days even the formidable batting duo of Best and Ramdin couldn't stop helping themselvs to classic test tons(Well, very unfortunate for Tino to be robbed of one by a small margin ....the English bowlers getting a stroke of luck....who knows how many more they would have gone on to ..hardly looked troubled ....)Well ,Waqar is not taking a certain D Saker's 'Mcgrath' comment seriously?Surely....

Posted by VinodRughani on (October 17, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Really good Article. Wasim and Waqar (W Squire) was the best combination of fast bowling in world. Imran Khan used well in the field. I, as a Pakistani pray for his health. We want waqar back in Coaching Staff, to help out youngster.


Posted by Baber_Baloch on (October 17, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

What was a time ...Two W,s Great Legend of Pakistan cricket we miss you much ,,we love you...our new bowlers need to learn from you...Waqar & Wasim style of Bowling was cooooooooooool.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (October 17, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Mr Nagraj was spot on In his questioning while Great waqar was even more impressive in replyng.FOR ME,WATCHING A TEAR AWAY QUICK PACER LIKE WAQAR Z MOST Beautiful site in cricket.I MIGHT SOUND HARSH TO SOME BT I ALWAYS PUT WAQAR AHEAD OF WASIM IN TERMS OF TALNT(I MAY B WRONG) BT WAQAR WAS THE BEST OF HIS TIME ,HIS STRIKE RATE PLUS AVERAGE R JST UNBELEIVABLE EVEN NOW (I M TALKNG ABOUT TIME BEFOR 2000).HATS OF TO HIM ,his track record wil stil put him in any top ten list of all time great fasts bt i stil think he undr.achievd n could have gone a bit further by adding atleast 200 wickts to his orignial tally though.I M SURPISD HE HAVEN,T MENTION THE PROSPECT OF PAK PACE BOWLNG N PRBLMS BEING CNFRONTD BY GUL,TANVIR

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

One of my favourite bowlers to watch ever. At anything but the very best batsmen then FAST bowing (not MF or FM) but over 88mph consistently can be about imposing yourself on a batter with pace, making them make decisions more quickly than they are comfortable with - back or front foot, attack or defend. McGrath mind you was not that quick, but in the last 8 years of his career his reputation went before him, hell even Warne imposed himself. Waquar and Wasim imposed. Pity their weren't 4 of them. Nice article and some solid real bowling tips (for a change)

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

BTW, I wish he was as good in speaking as he was at fast bowling. Sometimes I have no clue what he's talking about whilst commentating :P Anyways, I hope he continues contributing to the game of cricket. Asif, Amir and Gul were brilliant during the time he coached Pak cric team. Nowadays, Gul has completely lost it :(

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

This man would probably be one of the richest cricketers today if he played T20 cricket... The yorkers were simply too good for the batsmen!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

Waqar, a genuine quick bowler. Good with the old ball so was Wasim but they were a treat to watch when bowling together and Yes, there was healthy competition from both of them to take more wickets. I still think what if 1947 never happened?? Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev ... forgot Windies and in late 90's early 2000 .. Sachin, Anwar, Jadeja, Sidhu, Moin, Wasim, Waqar, Mustaq's (offie and leggie) Australia never had the chance in any World Cup's. Sigh.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (October 17, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Great analysis of fast bowling by one of the best in the business- a true legend of the game . Wasim and Waqar were the greatest double act in the game- all those wickets on the dead subcontinental pitches. They just took the pitch out of the equation with their amazing skill

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

I think Waqar was best in the world when he was playing, bowling largely in dry helpless wickets in Pakistan & other parts of sub continents but achieving maximum results. He is the perfect role model for any aspiring bowler!

Posted by AtifSubhani on (October 17, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Wonderful Article. Thanks Nagraj. Waqar Younis was lethal. I wish we had speed guns at the time he bowled. He was so quick, quickest of them all for sure. Whether he is commentating or presenting his views as expert in a studio, whatever he talks makes so much sense. 'Pitch the ball up' Great advice for all the quickies by a great fast bowler the game has seen. People going to stadiums would always want to sit in stands behind the bowlers arm just to have a good look of his action. After Wasim & Waqar, only Steyn has made a mark as a consistent successful fast bowler.

Posted by Rahul_Paharia on (October 17, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

My respect for the man has grown several fold after reading this interview. Only a person who has perfected the art can give a nuanced perspective of it. Hats off to you sir.

Posted by Usmanaftab24 on (October 17, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Wow what a legend! Tons of respect!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

He had best inswing yorker in the world. A man with lot of respect. Waqar Younas, Sir Wasim Akram and Imran Khan were tru bowlers. Thumbs up man You did alot for Pakistan. Very nice and detailed interview by Nagraj Gollapudi G. Nice Job man

Posted by Agnihothra on (October 17, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

ahhhh.. fantastic interview.. best stuff in cricinfo for ages.......

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Surely a good direction for hopeless fast bowlers....

Posted by Kunal-Talgeri on (October 17, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Dear Nagraj, this interview with Waqar is a classic. Thanks for mirroring our questions to a great, great fast bowler whose cricketing breed is endangered. The answers wouldn't have been so nuanced and lucid, without your apt questions which were right on the ball. Am amazed at how he still keeps up with bowling talents like Dernbach and Malinga. Waqar truly loves the art of fast bowling.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Waqar and Akram was the best combination of fast and swing bowling.

Posted by getsetgopk on (October 17, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

Change the title please, you got it all wrong. Fast bowling is as much about wits as it is about strength and energy and stamina. Imposing yourself on the batsman isn't the greatest of idea to take his wicket is it? You have to somehow out fox him without letting him know what your trying to do. Its all about reading a batsmans weak points the sooner the better, imposing and aggression is just one small cog in a much bigger game.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

SASANK - I second your thoughts. Tons of respect from Pakistan to you, for the genuine respect you have for him. :-)

Posted by Meety on (October 17, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Read this article & I started thinking why oh why didn't we (Oz) get him as a bowling coach/consultant on SOME form of contract? Top article. Interesting article on IT Figures on this site, that actually indicates that Wasim relied a lot on Waqar. Either way, they were a great tandem act!

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (October 17, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

on the flip side, Pak has to take leaf out of india's book and try to get some decent batsmen in the side !!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

GREAT FAST BOWLER.............HATS OFF for Waqar Younus........

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

This is THE best opinion on the matter thatt I've ever read. In fact, it is so good thatt its bordering on fact!

This should be included in ALL cricket manuals!

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Waqar was a Darwinian evolution in fast bowling. Born pacer and swinger , he didnt rely on pitch and ctachers to get him wickets ..just bowled the batsmen . Hats off to you

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (October 17, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Great article. First 6 years of Waqar younas were the best fast bowling years of my life too. Never seen a fast bowler like in my life. Waqar younas in first 6 years did what Bradman did. Just wining the matches from no where with sheer talent and extreme pace.

Then he got injured two times, lost his pace , lost his control and Wasim akram took over as best fast bowler in the world from Waqar. Waqar was dejected in 1996. But still those first 6 years were the best bowling figures a bowler can achieve. If waqar stayed fit for 12 years he would pick 600 wickets easily. Man was wicket taking machine. Never seen more hungry bowler in my life. But ultimately waqar did not do justice to his talent. his last 8 years were boring.

Jadeja ended the greatest fast bowler history in 1996 WC QF . Waqar went for 40 in 2 overs. My hero was dead on that day. That was saddest day in fast bowling history.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

what a great bowler he is!!!!!!!! love to watch him in action again.....

from an Indian fan

Posted by sabir1054 on (October 17, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

what a bowler he was. he is still serving the country through his cricketing knowledge, coaching and experience. he is very humble and kind enough to share his experience. He has a great respect for others such as Sachin, Lara, Megrath, Waseem, Imran and etc that is a sign of his greatness. I would have loved him to play a T20.

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

legend waqar great bowler

Posted by Lankan_Pride1981 on (October 17, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

i think australia missed the trick by not hiring this man.....what a depth of knowledge hats off to the great man

Posted by   on (October 17, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

Great stuff. Love you Waqar!

Posted by SRTMEANSPUB on (October 17, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Excellent answers......it's nice to follow things from legends who actually did those things rather than listening to perky commentators like harsha,akash chopra......

Posted by dbping on (October 17, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

Great interview. I wonder why Wasim and Wagar dont open some coaching clinic in Pakistan together. It would be really awesome to watch more extraordinary bowlers from Pakistan. Most rational cricket fans would agree that bowling is more heartstopping fun than batting.

Posted by SASANK360 on (October 17, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

Excellent stuff from great man Waqar. Superbly explained art of fast bowling. For a man who terrorised even best of the batsmen, to come down and share his experience is really good. We Indians have to take a leaf from Pakistan's fast bowling culture. For a fast bowler diet,hardwork and putting effort while bowling are the main requirements. unfortunately our Indian bowlers do none of the above three. That's the reason we fail miserably even in bowler-friendly conditions. Had Waqar Younis played T20 games today, he would be the most feared bowler and he would have proved that T20 is a bowlers' game. Hats-Off Waqar for great service to your country's cricket. Tons of repect from India.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Nagraj GollapudiClose

Chanderpaul, the coach's nightmare

Modern Masters: He developed a rhythm that worked for him and gave him better balance at the crease

    'I spent 95% of my career bowling the same ball'

Angus Fraser talks about his workmanlike bowling, playing second fiddle, his stop-start career, and England in the '90s

    'A coach earns respect by working as hard as the players'

Sanjay Bangar talks about his quick transition from player to coach, his philosophy and the reasons behind Kings XI Punjab's turnaround

    'Swann could bowl length blindfolded'

Erapalli Prasanna on a thoroughbred professional whose basics were extraordinarily strong

The mathematician who loved cricket

Haider Riaz Khan: GH Hardy, a regular at Cambridge, ranked mathematicians and physicists on the 'Bradman class'

News | Features Last 7 days

Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric

From Constantine to Chanderpaul

As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

Soaring in the 1980s, slumping in the 2000s

In their pomp, West Indies had a 53-13 win-loss record; in their last 99, it is 16-53. That, in a nutshell, shows how steep the decline has been

News | Features Last 7 days