"You cannot go from being Bhuvneshwar to Shoaib Akhtar," Irfan Pathan on swing bowling

Pathan said desperation to bowl fast can harm swing bowlers more.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar can swing ball both the ways | Getty

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan highlighted the difference between swing and pace, suggesting that while both have their advantages, it is always more difficult for batsmen to handle the moving ball.

Swing bowlers are often criticized for bowling slow and not having pace in their armory. Over the years many swing bowlers have tried to increase their pace which in turn resulted in affecting their swing bowling abilities. 

Writing in his column for The Playfield Magazine, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan said that swing bowlers can’t become fast bowlers as it would result in losing their swing and not having extra pace. He while explaining this cited that Bhuvneshwar Kumar cannot become Shoaib Akhtar. 

“The desperation to belong to the fast bowler category will leave you with nothing; you cannot go from being Bhuvneshwar to Shoaib Akhtar, it’s impossible. You will lose your swing, and yet not be quick enough to hustle the batsman,” Irfan Pathan wrote in his column for 'The Playfield Magazine,” 

Pathan suggested swing bowlers not sacrifice their swing for the pace as it would leave them stranded and said that bowlers need to understand that there’s an ideal speed for swing bowling. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar admits he didn’t realise importance of adding pace to his bowling early on

“My one suggestion to bowlers is to not sacrifice swing just to add an extra 4-5 clicks. It will leave you stranded. There is the speed that is ideal for swing bowling, respect that,” he said. 

Pathan observed that a speed of 130-135 kph is adequate for a pacer to extract swing from a ball. He added that if a bowler can further append his armory with a slower ball, he can 'survive anywhere'.

He also talked about the importance of body alignment and how it helps in bowling yorkers and swing with both new and old balls.

“A swing bowler generally operates in the 130-135 kph region, that’s scientifically proven to be the best range of force to get a maximum swing. But if the same bowler can bowl a yorker or a slower one or a cutter at that speed, he can survive anywhere in the world. 

“If his body alignment is good, he can bowl any number of yorkers at will, and swing it both ways. It is a reality that you won’t get the same amount of swing with the old ball as with the new one because the reverse is a different entity. But if you can bowl a good slower one or a yorker, you bring something more to the table,” he said. 

Irfan Pathan further cited the example of Indian bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar and said that he is not an express bowler but swings the ball and the skipper always use him in the death because of his abilities to bowl knuckle, slower, and yorker deliveries. 

“Take Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for example. He is not an express bowler but when he swings the ball, he is on the song. But the skipper always puts him on at the death because of his ability to bowl the knuckle, the slower one, and the yorker. Ball se koi harkat honi chahiye, that is important,” he said. 

(The Playfield Magazine inputs) 


By Ankitjit Singh - 09 Jun, 2021

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