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Mohammad Akram proposes rotation for Pakistan bowlers

Umar Farooq

February 20, 2014

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Irfan working twice as hard at training?, Sharjah, January 14, 2014
The proposed rotation policy could help bowlers such as Mohammad Irfan juggle the three formats better © AFP
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With Mohammad Irfan out of the squad after aggravating a hip injury, Pakistan's bowling coach Mohammad Akram has outlined a rotation policy for the major international contests ahead of the team. Akram, who was given a two-year contract, confirmed that Pakistan would focus on managing their bowlers' workloads to avoid injuries.

Rotation is an unfamiliar concept for Pakistan, and teams over the last one-and-a-half years have been selected largely from first-choice players. During Akram's previous stint as bowling coach, he oversaw the international debuts of Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali, but none of them has graduated to becoming a front-line bowler. Akram's influence on bowlers like Irfan and Junaid Khan has been evident, but Pakistan's bench strength is thin.

"We have decided to focus on the Under-19 level to get a group ready right from the start," Akram said. "Meanwhile we have realised the need for a rotation policy and both captains [Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez] should accept and adapt the mechanism and implement it in the long run.

"Irfan is a lethal bowler but it's not like we are overreliant on him. If you remember we won the (ODI) series in South Africa without him. So there are a lot of things we have discussed and we are thinking ahead now, and I can assure there is no sense of deprivation in the dressing room and from the captain."

Irfan's fitness has been a talking point ever since he made his debut in 2010. His longest continuous streak in international cricket came in the UAE last year, when he bowled 65.5 overs in two Tests against South Africa, 13 in a tour game against UAE, and 48 overs in five ODIs against South Africa. During this time, he became an important member of the Pakistan attack.

He was picked for the final T20 against South Africa in Dubai last year despite carrying niggles, and ended up injuring his hip. He recovered after three months of rehabilitation but aggravated his injury during a recent domestic T20 match.

"His [Irfan's] fitness wasn't compromised at all. He was played rightly and was fit enough for the match but injuries are part and parcel of the game," Akram said. "It can't be avoided by the doctors and the bowling coach. What we can do is try and manage the bowlers' workloads."

With Irfan out, Pakistan lack a strike bowler though Umar Gul, who had been out of contention for over nine months with a knee injury, is back in the side following his return for the ODIs against Sri Lanka in December.

"Umar Gul's performance since his comeback has been outstanding and we need to have a senior like him in the team," Akram said. "He just returned from an injury and his still bit wary about taking a full workload, which is natural, especially after a knee injury. We are expecting him to bowl 10 overs in the ongoing practice matches so that he can get back to full flow."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by gaindballa on (February 25, 2014, 3:16 GMT)

@iffy 187. Absolute rubbish. Fitness and match practice go hand in hand . Are you going to sit junaid khan out in the name of rotation even if he is fit. Best available 11 should play every game. We don't play that many games period. that infact is the reason people are getting injured more often . Additionally, these are professional players. So it's unfair to ask them to vacate there spot in the name of rotation. Put yourself in junaid khan's shoes. Would you like to sit out for someone less deserving in the name of rotation. Rotation failed in Australia and went the way of Micky arther. The played the same team in all ashes tests, unchanged even after Ryan Harris was hurt.

Posted by iffy187 on (February 24, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

some ridiculous comments on here, look into the context of what has been said, we are talking about long term not just 1 or 2 years, we need to groom the next generation of bowlers by giving them equal opportunities against top level sides, when junaid or gul gets injured who will step in, we need a pool of bowlers who have been tried and tested all around the world so they can step in at a days notice and perform to a top level, i do agree fitness plays a part but there is no substitute to match practice.

secondly i say this on all Pakistan related posts.. Leave Misbah alone, he is one of our best captains since Imran,overseen some great performances in the past few years yet all he gets is abuse, who will stand in and replace him, Afridi, who has probably retired more times than he has played test matches.. think about it guys, be careful of what you wish for.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 14:05 GMT)

Pakistan team does not play enough International cricket to require rotation policy. This year Pakistan will play 5 test matches, last year they played 7 that's only 12 in 2 years. Australia, India and England play this much in one year.Additionally, Pakistan are light on ODI this year as well with only Asia Cup and Australia series confirmed before the 2015 WC. IMO there is no need for rotation in Pakistan team, what we need is bowlers to focus on fitness along with cricket skills. Everybody is talking about Mohammad Irfan being hurt due to being used so much he played 4 tests and 20 ODI in 2013. Which compared to other quicks is not all that much, main problem is his fitness.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 5:16 GMT)

It is something great as we can try different bowlers in different combinations which will prove fruitful for us. It can be divided in two groups

1. Faster bowlers (First choice) -Umar Gul -Junaid khan -M.Irfan -Wahab Riaz -Bilawal Bhatti -Anwar Ali

2- Faster bowlers (2nd choice) -Sohail Tanvir -M. Talha -Asad Ali -Aizaz Cheema -Ehsan Adil -M.Aamir(after a year) -Usman shinwari

Few of them can fit in the roll of bowling allrounders as well and can be used on the batting tracks where as ALL OF THESE bowlers can be used in different combinations against different sides at different pitches because if given proper opportunity, all of these have ability to mark the international arena's success.

Why to put all burden on first choice faster bowlers? When we can form a substantial bowling unit out of the 2nd choice bowlers alone. So they should be used in the combination and if it is implemented properly, this rotation policy will prove more beneficial

Posted by gaindballa on (February 21, 2014, 20:48 GMT)

This is a joke. Rotation policy !!! when you don't get to play that much international cricket anyways. Our next test is month's away. How about improving fitness. These bowlers are not getting injured because they are not playing enough. They are getting injured because we don't play enough cricket and then we suddenly start playing. Rotation policy is the last thing we need. The best available 11 should play. Rotation policy is just a ploy to get sifarshi players in.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 20:44 GMT)

this one is specially for selectors,, you have done tremondously well, but think about this,, in test squad fast bowlers must be, SAMI, IRFAN, WAHAB, TALHA and BHATTI,, because they are extreme fast bowlers and we need them,, talking about ODI, it would have been a beter option if u have selected sarfraz along with umar akmal.. just to boost the confidence of sarfraz,, my request to u is that if you dont play fawad alam,, no matter but now dont make him out after the tournament,, stick with him, doesnt matter wheater he plays in 11 or not,, he must be in 15,,, my suggestion are: include hammad azam instead of malik and raza hassan instead of babar and let kamran plays on 3, and hafeez bhai on 6, so the team should be,, sharjel ahmed kamran umar sohaib hafeez shahid gul sohail ajmal and zulfqar/ bhatti, and the test team should be, 1: yasir hameed 2: fawaad alam 3: azhar ali 4: younis khan 5: faisal iqbal 6: misbah ul haq 7: sarfraz 8: sami/ bhatti 9: ajmal/ 10: irfan 11: talha/ wahab

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

when this mohame aamir will return to pakistan squad?????

Posted by Mustafa7861 on (February 21, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

They need to get two quick blowers and it is fine with the spin, however they need two all rounders like Afridi and Razzak. I think hafeez shall be removed as caption.However I believe Razzak shall be caption of the team

Posted by eastkwekwe on (February 21, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

Rotation policy does not work. I remember when Australia tried this without success. You have to have your best players playing at all times.

Posted by OverDcovers on (February 21, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

Misbah in continuation of his policy to patronize mediocre so that they keep looking up to him has damaged PAK Cricket more than benefited it by introducing club level cricketers like Rahat Ali in the past and persisting with him! PAK needs Younis and Afridi back as Captains for Tests and ODIz respectively with youngsters like Ahmed Shehzad and Sohaib Maqsood as their deputies to prepare them as future leaders! We BADLY need to do away with Misbah as a Captain, however, he can cotinue playing as a player till he lasts. Same applies to Hafeez who should be permanently thrown out of Test Cricket and restricted to ODIz and T20z! Misbah-Hafeez combo has screwed PAK Cricket enough therefore, we need agressive captains especially in lieu of WC 2015 and our future cricket, these 2 should have no role in leadership any more!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 5:23 GMT)

bowling is not a issue for Pakistan. we need good young batsmen, I think we should give chance to younng men like babbar azam hammad azam n jamshed should be in d squad as well.

Posted by Desihungama on (February 20, 2014, 16:18 GMT)

Bit too late! For any man of reason or woman it was obvious that M. Irfan does not belong to the category of normal beings. He is 7'3 tall man who is playing cricket while bowling fast. Bowling itself is an abnormal activity let alone for tall man like Irfan therefore he should have been handled with care to begin with as we (Fans) were suggesting a year ago. But No! Captains played him to the extent where he got injury in his hip which is almost impossible to recover for a tall person.

Posted by gujratwalla on (February 20, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

:) i am amused by a reader saying we can use Wahab Riaz like Australia has used Johnson!Riaz is no Johnson though he has pace.Pitches in Pakistan or UAE are hardly the right training gound and to top this i doubt whether Riaz has the same fitness levels as Johnson!This is one aspect of the Pakistani cricketer which needs to be taken more seriously.Pakistani fielding is nowhere up to Test stamdard amd our fast bowlers are the least fittest. I was impressed by Bilawal. Bhattis pace and think if handled wisely he can develop into a very good bowler like Waqar Younis.I wish the fellow well.

Posted by zzby on (February 20, 2014, 15:25 GMT)

I am not fan of Wahab Riaz but hen lpay in tests matches and can bowl 4 over spells with clear intructions to bowl over 150/KM and target the ribs and helmet of batsman.

Or Ahmed Jamal can speed it up to 150/KM....

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

irfan's injury was caused because he was played in a t20 game where as team physio said not to play him and widely reported that who wanted to play him in t20s. so not misbahs fault. some times it can be other people's fault as well no matter how much we want to criticize misbah. :-)

irfan shouldnt be playing t20s. qnd only limited tests. also need to be looked after in domestic events especially t20.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 20, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

We need a 150 kph bowler. Irfan was getting close and him with 150 kph and 7f 1 hight could have been something special.

Posted by LeftBrain on (February 20, 2014, 14:29 GMT)

Misbah is responsible for Irfan's mismanagement. He keep on playing him against every team, even in non-important matches. He was really mis handeled and now Irfan has to suffer because of it. Misbah provided a sense of stability in the team as captain, but his personal likes and dislikes are too strong, that affects team negatively.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 20, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

You need to groom Talha and Bilawal Bhatti. They both need to learn a lot and have better controls. Bhatti has been fast but with no control over his line and length. He needs to learn inswingers as well as late swing while working on his line. It has been written a many times that Talha was the fastet bowler in the country but I only saw him bowling 130+. I see a good competition among our fast bowlers in 2015 when Irfan will be fit again and Mohammad Amir and Asif will be back for selection.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

Fair call. I think it was unnecessary inclusion if M.Irfan in the 5th ODI against proteas at Sharjah. Due to which he carried niggles and ended being injured in the 2nd T20I, and now he is facing a career threatening injury . Really bad management of the big fellow.

Posted by pratit on (February 20, 2014, 13:16 GMT)

In today's age, rotation is necessary and teams should adopt it. For South Africa and Australia the test bowlers hardly play in ODIs. On the other hand, look at India. Shami is a good bowler. But India will continue playing him in all matches until he loses it completely. Then he will become another Ishant Sharma.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 13:01 GMT)

we see no improvement at times and feel like questioning akram's role. for example bhatti, no improvement in his bowling style from the 1st game. akram need to work hard with yound guys. anwar, asad, talha, bhatti are good bowlers but need good coaching. you cant always get a young kid who will take 5 wickets in 1st game. need to groom yound talent. irfan should have been managed well. he was risked even against physio advice for a t20 game.

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