Wasim Akram pose along with dignitaries during the press conference.
Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
Pakistan’s legendary pacer Wasim Akram expressed his concern over the dwindling art of bowling due to meteoric rise of the Twenty20 cricket.
In the shortest format of the game, batsmen generally decimate bowlers, who are thrown in the direct line of firing like expendables.
“The T20 format is literally not for bowlers unfortunately. But it’s entertaining and it has picked up worldwide and it’s not going anywhere. So the bowlers should understand now. They will get hammered once in a while. What is needed are good wickets, like in Asia Cup.”
“The best wicket I saw was in Dubai. It had little bit for the bowlers and then once you are set, the batsmen can play better. So, we don’t need flat wickets, because then it becomes one dimensional,” said Akram on the sidelines of a press conference, held to announce him as the brand ambassador of the Innovation Factory, which is a fintech company and provides technical solution.
He also expressed his delight on being a part of the Innovation Factory.
“I am happy to be associated with Innovation Factory. I have always been tech-savy. In the future the economy will driven by e-commerce, which will thrive on digital assets like crypto and NFTs.”
He also picked up four semi-finalist for the T20 World Cup, which gets underway down under from Oct.16, 2022.
“It’s in Australia. We saw Indian playing the first warm-up against Western Australia. They got 150 plus score and then got them out. The Australians will probably play well, they have a good bowling attack, they know those pitches.
“India have a good batting line-up. But they still haven’t named Jasprit Bumrah’s replacement. Pakistan, their middle-order is struggling. They are winning as well, they won three against England and they won two of out of two in New Zealand.
“So if the middle-order clicks, Pakistan have a very good bowling attack and one of the best opening pairs. So if they can control the middle-order, they have a chance. So for the semifinals, what I would like to see is Australia, India and Pakistan. But South Africa could be a dark horse.”
The former Pakistan captain was upbeat about the rich harvest of the fast bowlers in the country.
“We have lot more. I just saw this young boy in the junior league who is bowling so fast. He is bowling at 145 kmph and he is under 19. And he is getting wickets.”
He credited Imran Khan for setting up a trend which made the fast bowlers a national hero in Pakistan. Aspiring cricketers started taking up pace bowling as a career as a result of which Pakistan went on to churn out many renowned pacers like himself, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar.
“I think it’s the trend set by the great Imran, then myself, Waqar, Shoaib and Umer Gul. So the fast bowlers are the heroes in Pakistan and that has become a trend,” added Akram.
He also batted for the inclusion of the Omran Malk in the Indian team.
“India have also got pace now. You see that guy from Kashmir, Omran Malik, he is quick. But India took him to Ireland and he got hammered in one game, but that can happen in T20 cricket.
“But India need to stick with him because he has got pace. If I was in the think-tank, I would have him in the squad all the time. The more he plays, the better he will become, the experience in T20 matters.
“Pakistan have Shaheen. I believe he is fit now. But he has been out of the game for two-three months now. So he has to play some practice games before getting into the big one against India,” added the Sultan of Swing.
He also flayed Pakistan think tank on not paying attention towards to the faltering middle order.
“They haven’t figured out that yet. But yeah, I don’t follow their selection policies. But everybody knew that this middle-order is struggling and it struggled against New Zealand on Tuesday as well. Babar and Rizwan got out early and they were all out for 130.”
Akram was all praise for Indian middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav.
“He is a very dangerous player, he is a 360 player. I saw him first time when he joined the Kolkata Knight Riders, I spent two years with him.
“I was amazed that the KKR let him go. He was young, 19-20 then, imagine, he would have been the captain by now. So I think he is the future as far as the T20 format is concerned. He is a treat to watch, one of my favourite players in the format no doubt.”
He also lambasted ICC for putting a complete ban on the use of saliva.
“If you ar playing in England where there is no sweat, how will you shine the ball. Players will have to use cream, which is again a banned substance,” concluded Akram.