Kohli is GOAT, past controversies and more: Freewheeling with the legendary Sarfraz Nawaz
Written by Parveen K Dogra
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Updated: May 21, 2020 12:28:01 pm


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During video games of cricket at his father’s building websites in Karachi in the 1960s, Sarfraz Nawaz is mentioned to have found that if one aspect of the ball was roughed up and the different aspect was saved shiny, the deliveries had been close to unplayable. The lanky pacer went on to play 55 Tests and 45 ODIs for Pakistan in a 15-year lengthy worldwide profession between 1969 and 1984, and is mentioned to have been the first proponent of reverse swing.

Now retired and residing in London, the 71-year-old Nawaz didn’t mince his phrases in an interview to The Indian Express through which he spoke about Pakistan cricket, Virat Kohli, the artwork of reverse swing, Jasprit Bumrah and an enormous controversy involving India. 

Bowlers will endure in the post-Covid period

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has fresh guidelines on shining the ball and Australian ball producer Kookaburra is mentioned to have deliberate a wax application to keep the ball’s shine intact. Nawaz mentioned this may make contests much more uneven and the ball “will lose its magic” if gamers can’t tough up one aspect. 

“When players won’t be able to apply sweat or saliva to shine it, it will not behave like a conventional ball. When a conventional ball gets older, it starts producing reverse swing and poses a great threat to the batsmen,” Nawaz mentioned. 

“But I can predict the bowlers will be at great loss,” mentioned Nawaz. 

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‘Bumrah will play long for india’

Nawaz admitted he was impressed by Indian quick bowler Jasprit Bumrah. 

“Bumrah has a deceptive bowling action and bowls great yorkers. Despite the fact that batsmen across the world have learnt to deal with him, he still sticks to his line and length. His ball comes quicker to off stump. He will play long for India,” he mentioned. 

He mentioned Mohammed Shami has the potential to get reverse swing and is “lethal with an older ball”, and mentioned Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s effectiveness with the new ball is unparalleled. 

“Being a conventional swing bowler, Bhuvneshwar will prove to be effective with the new system post lockdown,” he mentioned. 

Babar Azam made skipper too early, Kohli biggest of all time

Nawaz retired from worldwide cricket in 1984 and after a year-long stint as a commentator, grew to become parliamentarian in 1985. He nonetheless retains a watch on cricket in his dwelling nation and thinks it’s too early for newly-appointed ODI skipper Babar Azam to take the reins. 

“I think it’s too early for him to be a captain. He should have been given more exposure as a batsman and a vice-captain before giving the reins of the team. Team members respect the skipper only when he is experienced and matured. Babar Azam is lacking on this front,” he mentioned.   

Also Read | It’s a serious issue if youngster can’t watch their heroes live: Babar Azam on cricket behind closed doors

Nawaz mentioned he admired West Indies’ Gordon Greenidge for his intelligence as a participant and technically sound batting. But he’s very clear that Indian captain Virat Kohli is the biggest of all time.  

“Virat Kohli is undoubtedly beyond comparison. He will certainly surpass Tendulkar on all fronts. Tendulkar was weak against inswing while Kohli hardly has any flaw in his batting. Initially in his career, he would fumble against the outswingers but now he has reached the pinnacle of his batting,” he mentioned.  

Taught Imran Khan reverse swing, he was a ‘very good learner’

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Reminiscing about his bowling partnership and stint beneath skipper Imran Khan, Nawaz spoke of how he made an exception and taught the youthful Pakistani the artwork of reverse swing.  

“During the 1974 Pakistan tour of England, I realised Imran could be my common companion in the Pakistan group. After the tour we had just a few unofficial pleasant matches in the West Indies, and there I shared my information of swing bowling with Imran, who turned out to be an excellent learner,” he mentioned. 

While Khan, who is now Pakistan’s Prime Minister usually meets former worldwide gamers, Nawaz is aware of he’s unlikely to be invited given they’ve not been on speaking phrases for the final 30 years.   

Also Read | Shoaib Akhtar explains why he was ‘very sad’ when Sachin Tendulkar got out for 98 in 2003 WC

“Differences arose over the number of the Pakistan group after the 1992 World Cup win. Imran was selecting his personal group and PCB had no say in the choice. 

“I was a sports advisor to the government and asked the board if it’s the Pakistan cricket team or the Imran XI. It irked Imran and things got personal between us,” mentioned Nawaz.

Wasim and Waqar had been a ‘treat for the eyes’

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While Nawaz is stuffed with reward for Kapil Dev and Malcolm Marshall for his or her effectiveness, he acknowledges the expertise of two of his countrymen.  

“Wasim (Akram) was brilliant with the new ball and Waqar (Younis) was lethal with the old ball. His (Younis) in-swinging yorkers with the old ball were a treat for the eyes,” he mentioned of the two Pakistani bowlers who’re arguably the biggest exponents of reverse swing.

Also Read | Gautam Gambhir lashes out at Shahid Afridi over controversial remarks on Kashmir

Nawaz mentioned that the present Pakistani bowling lineup doesn’t have a single participant who will get to play all matches. 

“Naseem Shah and Mohammed Hasnain are quite effective but they are too young. Taking a look at their frail physiques and considerable heights, I don’t think they would be able to play longer for Pakistan. One has to be well-built for a longer career as a fast bowler. Shaheen Shah Afridi is a medium pacer and lacks sharpness,” he mentioned.   

A most controversial dismissal

Nawaz’s greatest bowling figures had been 9 for 86 towards mighty Australians in 1979 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when he took simply 33 deliveries to take Pakistan to an unlikely victory. Nawaz claimed seven Australian wickets whereas conceding simply the 1 run. After that Pakistan went to WACA in Perth and Nawaz was concerned in an issue that got here to be known as the Hilditch affair. 

It was the fifth day and Australia’s Andrew Hilditch was unbeaten at 29. The ball was returned in the Australian’s course after a wayward throw by a Pakistan fielder. Hilditch picked up the ball and handed it to Nawaz, who appealed for Hilditch’s dismissal for ‘handling the ball’. The Australian was adjudged out and there was loads of debate over Nawaz’s poor sportsmanship.

But the former Pakistani bowler mentioned it was purely a retaliatory gesture. 

“The Aussies had Mankaded Sikander Bakht only a few hours in the past on the similar day. We had been 196 runs forward and Alan Hurst discovered Sikander outdoors the crease whereas working to bowl. To everybody’s shock, he Mankaded him. 

“So on the same day when I got a chance to get their batsman out under the rule of the game, I simply did that,” he mentioned.     

The 4 controversial bouncers towards India

India had been touring Pakistan in 1978-79. This was the first tour to Pakistan in 17 years. It was seen as a diplomatic coup for the then Morarji Desai- led Janata Party authorities. 

The ODI sequence was tied 1-1. In the third ODI in Sahiwal, Pakistan scored 205/7 in the first 40-over inning. India, in reply, had been at 180/2 in 35 overs. A sequence win was in sight for India.

Nawaz was introduced into the assault and he bowled 4 consecutive brief balls, all of which had been out of the batsman’s attain. The umpire didn’t name them wides. A fuming Indian skipper Bishan Singh Bedi conceded the match to protest towards this and successfully misplaced the sequence 2-1. Bedi was eliminated as captain and Sunil Gavaskar took cost. Nawaz maintained he did nothing fallacious. 

“It was within the rules of the game as there was no restriction on the number of bouncers in an over. Why would umpires give those short-pitched balls wides?” he mentioned. 

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He mentioned Bedi was a sufferer of a “bigger conspiracy.”

“Gavaskar wanted to be the captain and his group in the team pushed Bedi to concede the match over bouncers so that the board could remove him. That’s what happened to him on the team’s return to India,” he mentioned.

Also Read | Pakistan to play England in July in bio-secure environment

Media from each the nations had criticised Bedi for his ‘overreaction’. As per sports activities journalist Suresh Menon’s e-book ‘Bishan- Portrait of a cricketer’, an enraged Bedi had instructed his group supervisor Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad, “If you want us to be diplomats and lose matches unfairly, ask Morarji Desai to captain the team. I am going home.”  

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