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Pak 'sultan of swing' says Eng can win Ashes

"I am amazed at the England bowlers' ability with reverse swing. It can win them the Ashes," former Pak pacer Sarfraz said.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2005 12:56 IST

England's mastery of reverse swing can help them win the Ashes, former Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, regarded as a pioneer of the batsman-bamboozling technique, said on Tuesday.

Nawaz said English pacemen Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones had caused Australia problems in the first three Tests and would continue to do so in the fourth starting on Thursday in Nottingham.

"I am amazed at the England bowlers' ability with reverse swing. It can win them the elusive Ashes," Nawaz told AFP.

Nawaz, who took 177 wickets in 55 Tests for Pakistan, is widely regarded as pioneer of reverse swing, the rare skill of gaining vicious aerial movement with a roughed-up ball.

He passed the art to legendary all-rounder and compatriot Imran Khan and it was perfected by Pakistan pair Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in the early 1990s, helping Pakistan lift the World Cup in 1992.

"Flintoff and Jones are very impressive in reverse swing and since the second half of the English season is drier it will get better and better," said Nawaz.

He said Darren Gough was the first English bowler able to reverse swing.

"Before Gough, the English used to search for any lame excuse and accuse Pakistani bowlers of cheating when they reverse swung the ball," said Nawaz, attributing Pakistan's 1987, 1992 and 1996 wins in England to the technique.

Now England are using it too, and have a chance to turn around their unenviable record of having lost the last eight Ashes series.

"If England bowlers bowl as they did in the second and third Test, they have a real chance to win back the Ashes," said Nawaz.

England staged a remarkable comeback after losing the first Test at Lord's by 239 runs. They beat Australia by two runs in the second Test at Edgbaston while the Aussies struggled to clinch a draw in the third Test at Old Trafford.

Australia's opening batsman Justin Langer said last week that coach John Buchanan and skipper Ricky Ponting were putting their heads together to figure out how to deal with England's reverse swing.

Nawaz advised Australian batsmen not to play shots in haste.

"You need to play late against swing and take singles and twos," he added.

First Published: Aug 23, 2005 12:36 IST