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Bowlers losing games for Pakistan: Aquib

Faisal Shariff in Lahore | March 22, 2004 14:50 IST
Last Updated: March 22, 2004 19:45 IST

The Pakistani pace attack lacks discipline, says former Test bowler Aquib Javed.

After watching the Pakistani bowling attack wilt in the face of the Indian onslaught in the fourth One-Day International in Lahore, Javed said, "Shoaib Akhtar and [Mohammad] Sami are wonderful bowlers. Shabbir Ahmed is a highly talented bowler, but he is without direction. All talent is in vain if you can't put the ball in the right place."

Pakistan's three frontline bowlers among them conceded 175 runs in 26 overs in what was their worst bowling performance of the series.

Javed, who coached the under 19 Pakistan team that won the World Cup in Bangladesh recently, pointed out that the senior bowlers failed to bowl three consecutive deliveries on the same spot. He emphasised the need for them to bowl on one side of the wicket so the captain can set fields to stem the flow of runs.

"The bowlers bowled on both sides of the wicket as if they had 20 fielders on the ground," he remarked.

"At this level you cannot afford to concede more than 15 extras. The pitch has nothing to do with the extras. The nature of the wicket does not force one to bowl wides or no-balls. If the pitches favour batsmen, it gives the bowlers more reason to not give away extras and make it easier for the batsmen."

Javed, who has the distinction of taking a hat-trick in an ODI against India, said Pakistan lost the first match at Karachi rather than India winning it.

"The Pakistanis bowled 55 overs and the Indians duly scored 350. If you cut out those five overs and take away about 40 runs from the total, then 310 on that wicket was an attainable total."

Sunday's performance forced former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan to call for a specialist bowling coach for the team. Javed said if he were named the bowling coach, he would focus on four areas to improve the team's performance. The four areas are no-balls, wides, target-hitting, and over rates.

He said that as coach of the under 15 team, which lifted the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates, he had made bowling discipline the key. The Pakistani bowlers overstepped just twice during the entire -- that's right, entire! -- tournament.

He also said that to beat the slow over rates dogging captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, he has a simple procedure, which only requires discipline. Following a simple cycle accelerates the over rate and helps the bowlers get their rhythm, he explained. "You bowl, follow-through, turn and go right back to the top of your run-up. It really adds to the rhythm."

To curb the tendency of overstepping, he said the bowler should mark his run-up and then run to the crease as well as to the top of the run-up to ensure that the distance is the same. "It is a method used even by top-level long-jumpers training for the Olympics," he pointed out. "Like in the long jump, where you run and hit the deck before take-off, bowling demands the same discipline."

With regard to wides, Javed said locking the wrist at the right time is the key to controlling the line. "It all depends on how organised your practice is."

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