County cricket could help Bumrah, and Shami needs to work on his run-up, says Wasim Akram

Pakistani cricket legend Wasim Akram has spoken about the Indian team’s pace bowlers Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, praising some aspects of their bowling while also highlighting where the duo could improve going forward.

India is due to tour England this year, and Akram said that the team can do well if both Shami and Bumrah worked further on their bowling. He said, “Shami is a good bowler but sometimes I feel he is a bit laidback. As a fast bowler, irrespective of the match situation, he should just sprint in and try to hurry the batsmen, who have a frontfoot trigger movement.”

Further explaining the technical aspects behind how Shami approaches the crease sometimes in his run-up, Akram said, “During his run-up, Shami, at times, tends to take small strides before his final load up to the crease. Now when he is in rhythm, his strides are correct and equally measured but the moment he gets a bit wayward, his strides get smaller. It should always be the opposite. When the length of the stride decreases, a person’s bowling action doesn’t get completed. The force that is generated from the back goes missing and one loses out on a lot of pace.”

However, Akram acknowledged that owing to Shami’s dodgy knee, he might need to work on the muscles in the lower part of his body. “That will be an issue with Shami. If you look at Shoaib Akhtar, he struggled with a dodgy knee. I suppose he has to work on the lower body muscles,” he said. “He (Shami) is a strong lad and has played fair amount of international cricket to know how he should be working on his body, so he can play for India for at least 10 years.”

Speaking about Bumrah, Akram echoed Michael Holding’s earlier sentiment that it is tough to hit the deck as a bowler in England, but felt that a month playing county cricket would do wonders for his performance in England. “I agree with Mike that you can’t hit the deck on English surfaces, but that would only come with experience. Look ,the BCCI doesn’t allow the Indian boys (international stars) to play county cricket. If Bumrah plays at least a month of county every year, trust me, he will be a better bowler. But then Indian board has to tell Bumrah that forego a month’s IPL and play county cricket,” Akram said, who attributes his own growth into a world class bowler to the time he spent with Lancashire in the early part of his career.

Finally, Akram praised Bhuvneshwar Kumar, hailing him as India’s most threatening bowler in the ongoing tour of South Africa. “Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the most impressive pacer in South Africa as far as my assessment goes. He was getting the ball to swing both ways. And with increased pace now, he has become all the more effective.”

“This Indian pace attack has potential to do well in England. They were very impressive in South Africa with the kookaburra, which is a difficult ball to bowl with so Dukes, which does a lot after pitching will be an easier for them (in England),” he summed up.

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