Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The decline of Pakistani pace bowling attack

Pakistan cricket team always had the history of producing great fast bowlers. Many of them like Wasim akram, Waqar younis, Imran khan etc became world beaters and were possibly the best at the time when these guys played. Bowlers like Akhtar, Razzaq, Asif, Gul etc just gave a feeling that Pakistani pace attack is never gonna die.But post Lords Scandal Pakistan,  really never had a threatening pace attack that could literally shiver the spine of a quality batting order. And records just make this fact clear. During the past six years,  Pakistani domestic cricket, although produced a lot of talented bowlers but none of them really could show signs of Akram, Waqar, Akhtar. On 4th july 2009, in a test match against Srilanka, a 17 year old,  young kid grabbed the eyeballs of everyone, praises poured in from everywhere. Well this very young kid was MOHAMMAD AMIR.

        This young lad lived up to the expectations and each passing day, he became more threatening. It was all fine till that fateful day, when amir deliberately bowled two no balls in Lords test in August 2010. While Amir claimed that he was forced to do so, but he also himself accepted that he bowled no balls for money. Other two players Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were also found guilty and banned from playing international cricket. All the three, also faced prison terms. This incident had a deep impact on Pakistani cricket and Pakistani pace bowling department was the worst affected. Pakistani domestic cricket lost it's ability to produce threatening quicks. Speed of pacers dropped effectively. From an average speed of 145kmph-150kmph, it dropped to much lower 130-135kmph. And nowadays swing is nowhere. Pacers have started depending more on slower  ones, cutters and other varaitions than on traditional pace and swing. Bowlers like Imran Khan jr. have been really exceptional in domestic  cricket but have proved ineffective in international cricket. Bowlers like Wahab, Sohail Khan, Amir, Junaid Khan having an average speed above 140kmph have been inconsistent with fitness, consistency, effectiveness and rhythm. Recently during ENGLAND series, fast bowler Sohail Khan really was threatening, but all this was limited to the first few spells of 1st inning and afterwards it was really pathetic, specially in 2nd innings. Similarly Wahab Riaz has really looked threatening at many occasions but performance has never been consistent. Mohammad Amir also follows the suit. His spell at Sher-e-Bangla stadium on 27 February vs India during Asia Cup match really showed signs that he might be returning to his best very soon. But lack of performance against England, Windies and New zealand was just disappointing. Although, he has been bit unlucky because of those dropped chances that could have made the situation reverse.

 Sohail's performance during 2nd innings have been pathetic.

        These factors have made a  lot of people say that Pakistani pace bowling department has lost its ability to produce quality quicks. Some have gone even far by saying that it has extinct/declined or it is declining at a rapid pace. This could be proved wrong as it is a famous saying that Pakistan Cricket is a synonym of inconsistensy and it is what defines them. We never know that all of sudden we might see some world class fast bowlers being produced by Pakistan. But as of now, it is clear that Pakistani pace bowling  attack is either ineffective or this art has faced an extinction in Pakistan. Well there might be something like that. During the past decade when Pakistani pace bowling attack has been out of sorts, but on the other hand, Pakistani spin bowling department really has developed greatly and produced world class bowlers like Saeed Ajmal and Yasir shah too is following the footmarks. While this era has seen a decline of pace attack but has been a significant improvement in spin attack.
      The Pakistan Cricket Board just cant take this thing lightly. They have to take the requisite measures so that this great art never faces extinction. The PCB and PSL franchises have already taken many measures and they are commendable but a lot more needs to be done in this regard.