Pakistan’s World Cup weapon: Bowling

Published: March 2, 2011
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The team’s bowling has to fire for Pakistan to win in this World Cup. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s bowling attack will have to step up if the team is looking to do better than the previous two editions of the World Cup. Historically, Pakistan have done well when their bowling has lived up to expectations and this time would be no different. The conditions will assist only those who are willing to exploit them.

The pitches in Sri Lanka are slow with low bounce therefore bowling has to be spot on. The warm conditions will wear out the ball quicker, assisting reverse swing, but at the same time dew will set in. It’s difficult to grip and even harder to reverse swing and with most of the games, being day and night, will give the team batting first an added advantage.

The absence of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif is a setback.  The duo was as good as any other fast bowling pair in the world if not the best. The pair was a match winning one.  Had they been playing, Pakistan would have been amongst the favourites; now they are one of the outsiders.

Without the duo, a lot relies on the shoulders of Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul. Akhtar has shown that he is still capable of generating those unplayable balls though not as regularly. However, there remains a question mark on his fitness. Whether his body is fit enough to meet the demand of cricket’s showpiece event remains a trivia. The team management and captain would have to use him methodically, may be in short bursts. He might even be rested in ties against the weaker opponents.

And with the weather warm enough to tire the bowlers quickly, lack of fitness can prove disastrous. Even Umar Gul’s fitness levels are not very ideal. He’s a good bowler but not consistent.  A wonderful spell one day is often followed by a mauling the next.

The team is lucky to have fast bowling greats Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed as coaches. But homework needs to be done. I consider Javed to be more capable for studying the oppositions’ batsmen. Unlike Younis, he has been through a few high profile coaching courses and is quite knowledgeable about the modern trends of training.

Younis might give valuable tips in light of his great experience but for a World Cup the coach should also have the ability to make his boys stronger. The combination has to click for Pakistan to do well at the mega event.

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Jalaluddin

Jalaluddin

A former Test fast-bowler for the Pakistan cricket team.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.