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Attack the best defence for bowlers

I think T20 cricket is still at a work-in-progress stage, and teams are coming to grips with its frantic pace. It is a curious mix of pressure and fun. Imran Khan reports.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2009 01:25 IST
Imran Khan

Pakistan crushed Holland to make an impressive entry into the SuperEights, where they will play Sri Lanka first.

If they can shake off the rustiness, which was evident against England and has set in due to the lack of international cricket, Pakistan have the tools to do well in this tournament.

The only area of concern for the Pakistanis is their fielding. It’s important to minimise mistakes on the field in T20 cricket because there is no time to make amends. The batting looks good now. It’s heartening to see Younis Khan perform.

I think T20 cricket is still at a work-in-progress stage, and teams are coming to grips with its frantic pace. It is a curious mix of pressure and fun.

I think the bowlers who bowl to take wickets and those who can vary their pace have a good chance in this format.

Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi have been very successful in both games because of the variety they unleash. Umar Gul has also been one of the few pace bowlers to do well, and that’s because he bowls intelligently, with the aim of taking wickets and not merely restricting runs.

I do not subscribe to the view that bowlers are going to suffer at the hands of marauding batsmen.

Most of the time, bowlers bowl like they do in the longer versions of the game, which allows batsmen to play predetermined shots. If you can surprise the batsman, chances are you will restrict his scoring options.

I have often been asked whether I would have enjoyed T20 cricket. With all humility I say that I would have excelled in this form. I always backed myself to clear the ground. And since I always bowled to take wickets, I would not have done too badly.

That said, I would never have considered this format as the true test of my skill and calibre.

The true test of a cricketer is whether he has talent, technique and temperament. Only success in Test cricket can prove that you possess all these three in ample measure.