Pakistan News July 20, 2010

Fast bowlers at risk - Imran Khan

Cricinfo staff
  shares 25

Pakistan great Imran Khan has said he's concerned the sheer volume of international cricket is putting unprecedented stress on fast bowlers, and suggested doing away with one-day cricket to ensure quick bowlers don't go "the way of the dinosaurs."

"Maybe we should eliminate 50-over cricket and just have Twenty20 cricket and Test cricket," Imran said while giving the annual Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's on Monday."The stress on fast bowlers is incredible. But cricket without fast bowling is never going to be the same standard if a batsman doesn't test himself against fast bowling.

"I saw Shaun Tait bowl in the Twenty20s and I thought an alien had come in -- you suddenly saw batsmen hopping about."

Tait is one of the world's few bowlers with extreme pace but he has not played Test cricket since 2007, and retired from the first-class game in 2008 to prolong his career. He has repeatedly said the the rigours of the longer format are too much for his body and that he can only play limited-overs cricket.

The 57-year-old Imran watched Pakistan lose to Australia by 150 runs in the first of their two-Test series, and said Shahid Afridi is the perfect example of a talented cricketer who can thrive in Twenty20 cricket, but struggles in Test cricket.

"The only test of a cricketer is the Test match because his talent and technique is tested. In Twenty20, if you are very talented you can get away with it, but a good Twenty20 cricketer will not necessarily excel in Test cricket."

Following the loss to Australia, Shahid Afridi announced his retirement from Test cricket after a solitary game as Pakistan captain.

Imran, who led Pakistan during their high-intensity battles with the mighty West Indies sides in the 1980s, also said the standard of Test cricket has dropped over the years. "I don't believe Test cricket is the same standard as before," he said. However, he thinks the level of officiating has improved immensely since he played, and that technology will only help it get better. Imran was among those who championed the introduction of neutral umpires.

"The spirit of the game suffered while I was playing. There was a lot of acrimony in the games and when India played against Pakistan. It deteriorated to depths you cannot imagine. Neutral umpires have changed everything, technology has eliminated so many of the controversies and results are much fairer now. I think it should improve further with the use of technology."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BUTT_093 on July 26, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I respect whatever Imran Khan has to say on matters related to cricket but on his suggestion for the 50 over format to be scrapped I beg to differ. It is not the format of cricket that needs to be managed, albeit, it is the job of the think tank to manage their FAST bowlers, of which admittedly there are few. Here is where strategy and rotation policy can employed in order to manage the work load of bowlers. Its not necessary for fast bowlers to play every game for their country. Thats my point of view.

  • Tansah on July 26, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    ODIs and T20s do NOT test ability in the same way as Test matches do. In limited-over form, just hit a few for six and everyone's happy. That is not sport. Bowlers get wickets cos' batsmen try to whack them for six and everyone think bowlers are good. That's not the case. Test matches is about stamina, mental strength, fitness, and the ability to perform consistently. That IS sport. Fast bowlers can't be good for ages these days cos' they are obsessed with ODIs and T20s, and cannot play Tests with the same level of being good and accurate. Khan is correct. More Test matches will do cricket some good.

  • Sol09 on July 25, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    When the current generation of test cricket supporters die off, this form of the game will linger and die off . Market forces decide will determine this. The current generation of youngsters are being brought up with T20 and this is where the demand will be in the future - from both spectators and players.

  • on July 22, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    I played 13 years first-class cricket/minor county and league.I never had a big injury because we used to do simple excersis we used to walk/jog/run and strech.We come early and last one to go.Its all up to you how you want too.Mr.Imran Khan the way he used to work.They should the same way.Now a days so much money involved everybody look for short cut.Mentelilty should be changed.Our cricketer don't take advice from former cricketer once they become a test cricketer.They only counts money and benefits.We should have a simple system to follow.And also give encouragement to speak in our launguage for interview why they have speak in English.We should prepare for all formats of game.We don't want to get isolated.Pakistan cricket need domastic and international cricket and stop blaming each others.Lets we all think about PAKISTAN.Without the nation we are nothing.Give a respect to former cricketer so they can help pakistan cricket.Just we all have go to BASIC where sportsman come from.

  • on July 21, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    Infact Imran Khan is seriously criticising on ICC. there is no cricket but money.

  • cric4lyf on July 21, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    How lucky India is;) no fast bowler in their side......

  • on July 20, 2010, 20:29 GMT

    Playing for Passion is gone. Love for Money is everywhere in Cricket.

  • on July 20, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    i didn't read the full article but this is stupid..... how much is pakistan playing?? they are seriously in need of long tours as they have had alomst none for the past two years or so... in those years we have fallen behind and the batsmen are in no form whatsoever... we need more and more cricket... look at anyother nation... they are playing like ten times more... he should have said that our bowlers need to get fitter...

  • cheeseburgers on July 20, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    Test match will always remain the main course.

  • Xahir on July 20, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    well that depends on team and player himself that how he needs to be treated, Tait find it better to only play limited overs and he is doing good. By the way I am quite surprised to see that he didn't speak anything about Pakistan cricket

  • BUTT_093 on July 26, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I respect whatever Imran Khan has to say on matters related to cricket but on his suggestion for the 50 over format to be scrapped I beg to differ. It is not the format of cricket that needs to be managed, albeit, it is the job of the think tank to manage their FAST bowlers, of which admittedly there are few. Here is where strategy and rotation policy can employed in order to manage the work load of bowlers. Its not necessary for fast bowlers to play every game for their country. Thats my point of view.

  • Tansah on July 26, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    ODIs and T20s do NOT test ability in the same way as Test matches do. In limited-over form, just hit a few for six and everyone's happy. That is not sport. Bowlers get wickets cos' batsmen try to whack them for six and everyone think bowlers are good. That's not the case. Test matches is about stamina, mental strength, fitness, and the ability to perform consistently. That IS sport. Fast bowlers can't be good for ages these days cos' they are obsessed with ODIs and T20s, and cannot play Tests with the same level of being good and accurate. Khan is correct. More Test matches will do cricket some good.

  • Sol09 on July 25, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    When the current generation of test cricket supporters die off, this form of the game will linger and die off . Market forces decide will determine this. The current generation of youngsters are being brought up with T20 and this is where the demand will be in the future - from both spectators and players.

  • on July 22, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    I played 13 years first-class cricket/minor county and league.I never had a big injury because we used to do simple excersis we used to walk/jog/run and strech.We come early and last one to go.Its all up to you how you want too.Mr.Imran Khan the way he used to work.They should the same way.Now a days so much money involved everybody look for short cut.Mentelilty should be changed.Our cricketer don't take advice from former cricketer once they become a test cricketer.They only counts money and benefits.We should have a simple system to follow.And also give encouragement to speak in our launguage for interview why they have speak in English.We should prepare for all formats of game.We don't want to get isolated.Pakistan cricket need domastic and international cricket and stop blaming each others.Lets we all think about PAKISTAN.Without the nation we are nothing.Give a respect to former cricketer so they can help pakistan cricket.Just we all have go to BASIC where sportsman come from.

  • on July 21, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    Infact Imran Khan is seriously criticising on ICC. there is no cricket but money.

  • cric4lyf on July 21, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    How lucky India is;) no fast bowler in their side......

  • on July 20, 2010, 20:29 GMT

    Playing for Passion is gone. Love for Money is everywhere in Cricket.

  • on July 20, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    i didn't read the full article but this is stupid..... how much is pakistan playing?? they are seriously in need of long tours as they have had alomst none for the past two years or so... in those years we have fallen behind and the batsmen are in no form whatsoever... we need more and more cricket... look at anyother nation... they are playing like ten times more... he should have said that our bowlers need to get fitter...

  • cheeseburgers on July 20, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    Test match will always remain the main course.

  • Xahir on July 20, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    well that depends on team and player himself that how he needs to be treated, Tait find it better to only play limited overs and he is doing good. By the way I am quite surprised to see that he didn't speak anything about Pakistan cricket

  • on July 20, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Great stuff by Khan saab! Imran Khan was and always will be worth listening to Loved it . Imran is great speaker , leader .

  • Desihungama on July 20, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    The great Khan himself spoke. Great Khan is a visionary and master of sport. I am so proud to share Alma Mater with the great Khan. Does anyone know great khan was better at field hockey than cricket while in school? Infact, he was the captain of their hockey team. Long live Khan.

  • Zahidsaltin on July 20, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Partially agree. Its dead wickets which are killing fast bowlers. T20 should be given full backing as the product must match what people want. T20 will also soon have a vast pool of nations than just 10 or 12. Number of ODI for every team must be limited to 12 every year.

  • Percy_Fender on July 20, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    The game has not changed very much. It is perhaps the scheduling that is causing the injuries that Imran talks about. The Big Bird Joel garner said some time ago that during his time there was little or no Gym culture as is so popular these days. His mother expected him to return home only at a certain late hour. So he could'nt go home earlier than that. So he ran and ran and after that bowled and bowled. I cannot remember any of the great West Indian fast bowlers,Roberts,Holding,Croft, Garner, Marshall,Ambrose or Walsh ever being injured. They used to play Test cricket and 50 over ODIs apart from fulfilling their county engagements right through the summer which involved many matches. I am sorry but I do not think fast bowlers are going to become dinosaurs.The ICC's scheduling has been totally lacking of any vision in the past. I hope Pawar and his team give the aspect of scheduling the greatest emphasis, taking into consideration every aspect that is relevant to the player's health.

  • on July 20, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    One day and T20 should have to reduce and increase the test cricket which is the cricket.

  • Chacha-pool on July 20, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    I also think that there should be less onedays and T20's and they should only have world-cups. ICC must take care about this that each country is getting fare share of cricket as they are making lots of money.some of this money must go into cricket development in all countries.

  • manasvi_lingam on July 20, 2010, 10:40 GMT

    Actually, it's not the volume of cricket but the scheduling, the pitches and the negativity of captains that's destroying the fast bowlers. In olden days, bowlers played as many as 30 first class games per year, which is a lot lot more than current times. People like Bedser, Truman, Hirst, etc bowled more overs than the current generation.

  • Nrao786 on July 20, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    The question is whether anyone can sustain bowling at 90 mph with little respite between the different formats. As the different formats require different demands on the physical body......in Tests you can afford to vary your pace in different spells, to a lesser extent in ODI but in 20/20 if ur a quick....ur expected to churn out 4 overs of top pace with little respite due to the intensity of the game......

    Its obvious from the current crop, very few out and out quicks exist....its natural for bowlers to bowl within themselves when you have a lot of cricket coming up. This has been made worse by the IPL - a domestic competition in name only.......

    Until the ICC look to unify the nations and their itineraries we will continue to have this argument and also debate about the slow death of Test cricket. The current international series' have no meaning......nations just play for the sake of playing for the nominal title of being the best...

  • Hoggy_1989 on July 20, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    I don't think Twenty20 cricket will stick around for the test of time (pun not intended). The cricket boards worldwide will milk it for all its worth (like they did with One Day matches), until the format becomes as boring and mundane as ODI matches are perceived to be now. Some would argue thats already starting to happen now with the IPL etc. I think once this Twenty20 fad passes by, and Test matches are worked with to give fast bowlers a chance to shine and feel they can trouble batsman and take wickets (i.e. more grass on the pitch, like at Lord's in the Aus v Pak match), we'll see a resurgence in quality fast bowling.

  • poderdubdubdub on July 20, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    I agree with Imran Khan, the time of ODIs is over, who has time to spare a one full day watching a meaningless cricket match which is not even a Test match. T20 is the future of Cricket entertainment. I wish Imran Khan had stayed with cricket only, and had not wasted his life in Pakistan politics.

  • bobagorof on July 20, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Why is it 50 over cricket that has to be done away with? The pace quartet of the West Indies in the 70's and 80's seemed to be able to handle 50 over and Test cricket without too much trouble. Imran himself was a wonderful bowler in 50 over and Test cricket. So, apart from far too many meaningless matches, 50 over cricket doesn't seem to cause too many issues with fast bowlers. Maybe the cricket boards and coaches need to think about how they train and take care of their players. It used to be that fast bowlers would play week in, week out in an English county season in the '50s, and very few broke down - because they were conditioned for bowling.

  • adil8 on July 20, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Imran Khan is the Greatest Ever Pakistani Cricketer!! He is Biggest Celebrity of Pakistan!! We Love You, Imran!!

  • zshan-ah on July 20, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Quite right by Imran Khan. All over the class in test cricket is lacking. If one flash back to the past and think of bowlers like Shane Warn, Wasik Akram, Ambrose, McGrath,Kumble, Waqar younis... i doudbt that in current era there is not a one bowler who can match them. They were the real class act, and to my understanding the reason of current situation is too much commercialization of not only cricket but cricketers which causing the lack of attention to the game it self. I think cricket heads need to restrict if not finish the extra cricket activities.

  • BillyCC on July 20, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    I would go even further than Imran. Get rid of all ODIs except for the World Cup, get rid of all T20 Internationals except for the World Cup, and only keep the domestic/club T20 formats such as the IPL. That way, the international cricket calendar gets filled with decent, lengthy Test series instead of the pitiful short series we are currently seeing to accommodate for more T20s.

  • on July 20, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Or perhaps get rid of the stupidity that is Twenty20, Imran.

    Besides those who play Tests do not have to play ODIs. Forming better squads would be a better idea. It still wouldn't make fast bowlers disappear, they also say slow bowlers are disappearing as well. So what's going to happen, cricket will be compleely and utterly dominated by batsmen? I don't think so.

    Rubbish.

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  • on July 20, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Or perhaps get rid of the stupidity that is Twenty20, Imran.

    Besides those who play Tests do not have to play ODIs. Forming better squads would be a better idea. It still wouldn't make fast bowlers disappear, they also say slow bowlers are disappearing as well. So what's going to happen, cricket will be compleely and utterly dominated by batsmen? I don't think so.

    Rubbish.

  • BillyCC on July 20, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    I would go even further than Imran. Get rid of all ODIs except for the World Cup, get rid of all T20 Internationals except for the World Cup, and only keep the domestic/club T20 formats such as the IPL. That way, the international cricket calendar gets filled with decent, lengthy Test series instead of the pitiful short series we are currently seeing to accommodate for more T20s.

  • zshan-ah on July 20, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Quite right by Imran Khan. All over the class in test cricket is lacking. If one flash back to the past and think of bowlers like Shane Warn, Wasik Akram, Ambrose, McGrath,Kumble, Waqar younis... i doudbt that in current era there is not a one bowler who can match them. They were the real class act, and to my understanding the reason of current situation is too much commercialization of not only cricket but cricketers which causing the lack of attention to the game it self. I think cricket heads need to restrict if not finish the extra cricket activities.

  • adil8 on July 20, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Imran Khan is the Greatest Ever Pakistani Cricketer!! He is Biggest Celebrity of Pakistan!! We Love You, Imran!!

  • bobagorof on July 20, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Why is it 50 over cricket that has to be done away with? The pace quartet of the West Indies in the 70's and 80's seemed to be able to handle 50 over and Test cricket without too much trouble. Imran himself was a wonderful bowler in 50 over and Test cricket. So, apart from far too many meaningless matches, 50 over cricket doesn't seem to cause too many issues with fast bowlers. Maybe the cricket boards and coaches need to think about how they train and take care of their players. It used to be that fast bowlers would play week in, week out in an English county season in the '50s, and very few broke down - because they were conditioned for bowling.

  • poderdubdubdub on July 20, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    I agree with Imran Khan, the time of ODIs is over, who has time to spare a one full day watching a meaningless cricket match which is not even a Test match. T20 is the future of Cricket entertainment. I wish Imran Khan had stayed with cricket only, and had not wasted his life in Pakistan politics.

  • Hoggy_1989 on July 20, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    I don't think Twenty20 cricket will stick around for the test of time (pun not intended). The cricket boards worldwide will milk it for all its worth (like they did with One Day matches), until the format becomes as boring and mundane as ODI matches are perceived to be now. Some would argue thats already starting to happen now with the IPL etc. I think once this Twenty20 fad passes by, and Test matches are worked with to give fast bowlers a chance to shine and feel they can trouble batsman and take wickets (i.e. more grass on the pitch, like at Lord's in the Aus v Pak match), we'll see a resurgence in quality fast bowling.

  • Nrao786 on July 20, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    The question is whether anyone can sustain bowling at 90 mph with little respite between the different formats. As the different formats require different demands on the physical body......in Tests you can afford to vary your pace in different spells, to a lesser extent in ODI but in 20/20 if ur a quick....ur expected to churn out 4 overs of top pace with little respite due to the intensity of the game......

    Its obvious from the current crop, very few out and out quicks exist....its natural for bowlers to bowl within themselves when you have a lot of cricket coming up. This has been made worse by the IPL - a domestic competition in name only.......

    Until the ICC look to unify the nations and their itineraries we will continue to have this argument and also debate about the slow death of Test cricket. The current international series' have no meaning......nations just play for the sake of playing for the nominal title of being the best...

  • manasvi_lingam on July 20, 2010, 10:40 GMT

    Actually, it's not the volume of cricket but the scheduling, the pitches and the negativity of captains that's destroying the fast bowlers. In olden days, bowlers played as many as 30 first class games per year, which is a lot lot more than current times. People like Bedser, Truman, Hirst, etc bowled more overs than the current generation.

  • Chacha-pool on July 20, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    I also think that there should be less onedays and T20's and they should only have world-cups. ICC must take care about this that each country is getting fare share of cricket as they are making lots of money.some of this money must go into cricket development in all countries.