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January 24, 2008
The novelty of Sohail Tanvir's action may be wearing off, but little about his performances since his debut last year suggest the potency of his bowling is going the same way.
A career-best 4 for 34 set up an ultimately comfortable win and both his spells stunted Zimbabwe's progress at crucial stages on a new pitch at Hyderabad's Niaz Stadium. In the morning, he exploited the moisture there was in an early start to take out two top-order wickets. He later returned at the death, with deft changes in pace, to stall what might have been a promising Zimbabwe total with two key wickets.
"You learn in cricket day-by-day. I've played ten matches [ODIs] so far and am improving," he told reporters after the game. "There was early morning moisture and I just concentrated on a nice line and length early."
He asserted that as a bowler he was now more than just the unusual action. "The action helps a little, but these days everyone knows your actions and can analyse it in depth. When I made my debut the action was an advantage but not anymore, and now I have to rely on my skills as a bowler."
Tanvir has been the one positive from an otherwise disappointing display from Pakistan's fast bowlers in the series so far. He was the most impressive and economical in Karachi, and stepped up as the leader of the pack here.
"It's all about confidence. You've all seen that I feel fairly comfortable in any situation I am put in. I am playing as the leading bowler in this series but I feel comfortable."
The same might not be said of Rao Iftikhar Anjum and Samiullah Khan, who have both struggled to contain runs or take wickets. Anjum has conceded over 7.5 runs an over for three wickets, while Samiullah has yet to pick up a wicket and has leaked nearly six runs an over. The pair's ineffectiveness [Samiullah has been dropped for the third ODI] is partly the reason Pakistan have not bowled out Zimbabwe yet, though captain Shoaib Malik insisted the bowling was fine.
"Zimbabwe is an international side, not a club side," he said. "On flat pitches it is never easy for bowlers and I thought the effort was there today from them. We controlled them well in the last ten overs."
Malik has only had the services of five bowling options so far - with only three specialists - and though he didn't say so, the arrival of young prospect Sohail Khan for the third ODI in Multan will be a boost.
"Teams around the world play with four or five bowlers. We used to have six bowling options before but I think we are fine right now. Part-time bowlers are always handy to make up a few overs if someone is having a bad day."
But Malik was impressed by Nasir Jamshed, who added a second quick-fire fifty to what has been a confident start to his international career. "No doubt he was very good. But in cricket you are constantly learning, even if you have made records and 10,000 runs. Nasir has confidence and that is a great sign.
"He gave us a good start and though there were a few slip-ups after that, I think our lower order performed well."
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