‘Batsmen win you games, bowlers win you tournaments’

Pakistan victory over India is all over the physical and internet media. Open any paper/website today and you cant help but get carried away in discussions.

One just hopes the victory springs Pakistan cricket to action in shorter format of the game. Their test performances are not all the bad by the way but post retirement of Misbah and Younis they will be tested once again. There is not a better sign than Pakistan bowlers testing batsmen across the world with their guile and pace.

So this interview by Azhar Mahmood, former Pakistan player and now the bowling coach is an interesting one. In this age of batters where all rules are being designed to glorify them even more, one just forgets the role of bowlers.

In this interview, Mahmood makes the statement that ‘Batsmen win you games, bowlers win you tournaments’. He talks one through what it takes to create a bowling unit, right length to bowl, conditions and so on:

But Pakistan have been the only team to get some reverse-swing.
Conditions – we used them properly. Against South Africa, at Edgbaston, we played on a old pitch which was being used for a third match. We were originally meant to play on a new pitch, but since it had rained heavily, they played on the used pitch. So those conditions suited us as the square was rough. In Cardiff, too, the practice pitches had no grass, so the ball got scuffed up easily.

It was similar conditions to the subcontinent. We did not get massive reverse-swing, but it was enough for the bowlers to utilise to their benefit. I heard England speak about the pitch conditions after the defeat, but we made better plans and executed them. We outplayed England, simple as that.

What is the right length and line to bowl, then, on these pitches?
It depends on the pitch, the bounce. Usually you need to pitch on a good-length spot, about six to eight metres from the wicket. But sometimes the good-length spot can also be five to six metres, but that totally depends on the bounce again. At The Oval, normally you get extra bounce so the good-length spot should be about six metres. But the pitch in the India-Sri Lanka match was true, where you could easily hit even a length delivery on the up. But if the pitch holds up then you go for stuff like cross-seamers.

We learned our lessons from our experience from last year’s tour. We figured the side boundaries here are usually longer compared to the shorter straight ones. The key thing for the bowler is to ask the batsman to hit to the longer boundary. If someone can clear a 75-80 yards boundary, then you just say “good shot”.


We clearly need to give bowlers their due and make cricket more balanced..

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