A dirge to Indian fast bowling may look ideal at this time, and Pakistan bowlers are only looking to rub it in.
Never mind that India struggled against England spinners and in Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan have one of the world’s leading spinners; the visiting side is all set to unleash their pace battery on the Indian batsmen. “Pakistan’s fast bowling has always been good. Umar is experienced, I’ve also played a lot of T20. It will definitely give our captain confidence,” said Sohail Tanvir.
That India are struggling to find an opening pace combination has only added to Pakistan’s joy. “India’s current fast bowlers are not very experienced. They have played the IPL but international cricket is different,” he said. “They’re still trying but they don’t have a permanent, settled pace attack. For us it is a positive that they’re not sure whom to field and whom not to.”
For himself, Tanvir said his IPL experience would hold him in good stead. “Whenever I have played in India — like the last series in 2007 and in the IPL — I have bowled well. I have that confidence,” said Tanvir. “Sub-continental pitches are almost similar but it’ll definitely help that I have played quite a bit in India.”
Tanvir said despite the rising influence of spinners, Pakistan fast bowlers have managed to hold their own. “Today, we have three or four world-class spinners in the side at the same time. This has never happened before with Pakistan,” he said. “When you have three or four world class spinners in the XI, it sort of subdues the role of the fast bowlers. When Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez are all doing well together it can occur to people that Pakistan’s pace battery is not performing. But in the last six-seven months, the fast bowlers have also done well.”
Umar Gul said fast bowlers would play as important a role as the spinners. “Against England in Abu Dhabi, the fast bowlers contributed along with the spinners,” he said. “I took the highest number of wickets after the spinners. Even here we’ll try to lighten the load on the spinners and contribute.”
Asked about his less excitable nature compared to other Pakistan bowlers, Gul said he tried to focus only on cricket. “I’m different from other fast bowlers in that they show aggression,” he said. “From the outset, my idol was Glenn McGrath. You need to show some aggression, yes, but you also need to stay cool.”
Though Gul agreed they had plans to tackle Indian batting, Pakistan had no intention of giving it away. “We’ve seen the videos, we know their strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “We have played against Gautam quite a bit but not against the new guy Rahane. We definitely will make plans against him at the team meeting but we won’t tell you.”