Thursday, June 07, 2007

What makes a fast bowler (or a story)

First thing is the run-up. Then the pace of the kid. Then whether they have a cricket brain. Then the fitness. Then how hungry he is. With good fast bowlers you spot these qualities within a few overs.

This is what Wasim Akram said when he was in a fast bowling camp in Pakistan. An eclectic combination of attributes, spanning physique, attitude and technique.

Ignoring the mixing of the singular and the plural in the statements, is this really what you would look for in good fast bowlers? And can you really find these in a few overs?

Or do we lap these high-sounding statements just because they come from one of the game’s greats? Does greatness in one aspect permit an exaltation of the mediocre in another?

Mistake me not, I rate Akram as the two (the other being Shane Warne) most creative bowlers of the last 30 years. But does that mean he can spot a future Akram when he sees one? Even his own run-up was not particularly classical or optimized. And while he was fast, pace was not the reason he was what he was.

To be fair to the man, Akram himself admits, “It's my first time coaching, officially or unofficially.” My grouse is really against the thrust of the story. The title is promising – Pace lessons - past meets future. That, to me, is really the key story element. The fact that Akram, Aaqib Javed, Shoaib Akhtar (is he past or present or future?) and Mohammed Asif were rubbing shoulders with the potential stars of the future would have been sufficient inspiration for the bright-eyed lads. So why would Osman Samiuddin not drive with that? Or do stories get readership only if they are led by stars (past, present or future)?

1 comment:

Homer said...

Conrad Hunte saw potential in Sunny G despite the latter scoring only 23 in an University match.

So much so that Hunte recommended Gavaskar to the Indian selectors.

Imran Khan spotted Aquib Javed and Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

Long story short, how does one articulate the X factor one sees when picking talent?