LAHORE: Legendary left-arm pacer Wasim Akram has once again highlighted the importance of Test cricket by saying that it is the most genuine format of the game and if anyone wants to become a great cricketer, he has to excel in Tests to achieve that.
Wasim said on Tuesday in a video interaction with Pakistani’s fast bowlers including Wahab Riaz who along with Mohammad Amir has opted to leave Test cricket to give full attention to white-ball cricket.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has arranged a programme on video link in which legendary former cricketers will interact with the current Pakistani players to share their past experiences with them and give them confidence and tips.
On the second day of these sessions, Wasim interacted with the bowlers and gave them various tips on how they can bring improvement in their performance.
To a question from Wahab, Wasim said he always took the tough situation in a match as a challenge. “A good fast bowler should change his strategy with the changing situation in the match and a bowler should set his fielding by himself using his own abilities,” Wasim said.
“I have never been satisfied with any of my good performances and used to treat every day in cricket as a new one with new challenges,” he added.
To a question from another talented young pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, Wasim said it was important for a fast bowler to have positive rivalry with other fast bowlers as it helped to shape up the game and the skills. He further said for a fast bowler self-confidence and discipline are two major assets and whenever a bowler goes through a bad patch, he should go all out and with aggression by setting aside all fears.
Wasim was all praise for the skill and abilities of his fast bowling partner Waqar Younis, who is currently the bowling coach of the Pakistan team.
Wasim said he was impressed with the aggressive approach and run-up of Waqar and was a witness how even the high-profile players of that era feared facing him.
“We both managed to change the situation in various matches against big teams by trusting each other’s abilities,” he said.
He said cricket was a game of statistics and he always set targets for him during his career so that people kept him in their minds after his retirement and he could also be included in the all-time best Test side.
To a question from all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, Wasim said in England the pitches were soft and as fast bowlers he and Waqar always tried to pitch the ball at the full length. He said on English pitches bowlers should try to swing the ball with different variations. In England, a fast bowler could also take wickets by making a good use of the crease, he said.
Wasim said the secret of his success was his discipline and commitment for achieving the set targets.
Wasim played 104 Test matches for Pakistan taking 414 wickets at an average of 23.6 and 356 One-day Internationals capturing 502 wickets at 23.5.
He was one of the top performers for Pakistan at the 1992 World Cup under Imran Khan’s captaincy.
Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2020