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Sarfraz aims to reverse Delhi fortunes

In an interview with C Shekhar Luthra, the Pak fast bowler discusses his plans for the Delhi Ranji team when he joins duty as the bowling coach.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 19:36 IST

Former Pakistan paceman Sarfraz Nawaz, generally accepted as the pioneer of reverse-swing bowling, joins duty as the bowling coach of the Delhi Ranji Trophy team on Tuesday.

Following in the footsteps of countryman Intikhab Alam, who coached Punjab over the last two seasons, Sarfraz intends to leave an impression on the Delhi cricket scene.

Sarfraz discussed his plans for the Delhi team in a conversation over the phone from Islamabad. He displayed a great keenness to know about the local pace bowlers while discussing Delhi cricket with HT.

Excerpts from interview:

Why did you accept such a short coaching stint, lasting just one week?

For now, it will be only a one-week programme because of my prior commitments. However, I'm open to working on a long-term basis with Delhi cricket, and that would be discussed once I reach Delhi and start my work.

Is a week enough to train fast bowlers?

Just wait and watch - the bowlers will feel a sea of difference after training with me. Moreover, the bowlers I'm going to work with are the ones who represent Delhi, and I have only to teach them the finer points of fast bowling, like where to pitch the ball in different conditions and how to generate pace on the placid wickets of the subcontinent. At this level, I only need to correct the faults in their bowling action, if needed, and not to change it completely.

You must have done some homework for the camp…

Yes, I have asked the Delhi cricket authorities to provide me three different wickets - a hard track like the ones in Australia and South Africa, a seaming track like what we get in New Zealand and England, and a typical batting wicket of the Indian subcontinent. In case they have a problem in preparing such wickets on such a short notice, I'd have no problems in moving from the Ferozeshah Kotla to some other ground in Delhi where such wickets are available.

Have you seen Delhi bowlers in action?

I saw Ashish Nehra when he toured Pakistan in 2004. He is a very good left-armer but has been struggling due to injuries of late. Apart from him, there are bowlers like Amit Bhandari and the young Ishant Sharma, and also a few young upcoming pacemen. It would be possible for me to chalk out specific programmes for them only when I start working.

Nehra's recurring injuries have been a source of worry for Indian cricket…

A bowler gets injured only due to the lack of physical training. I plan to do an extensive video analysis of the sessions I have with the bowlers in Delhi, so that after training, I could point out their mistakes to them.

Nehra is an experienced bowler, but do you have specific plans for the younger lot?

The most challenging job of a coach is to rectify or change a bowler's action without making him conscious of the change. A fast bowler generally tends to slow down in his finishing stride, and thus can fail to reverse-swing by not using the air effectively.

What is more important, using air to move the ball or generating speed?

Speed is important, but if you have to be successful, you must use the air to generate extra swing, especially reverse-swing… I think that is the most important factor to become a complete fast bowler.

Are you going to impart your reverse-swing secrets to the Delhi pacemen?

Definitely. They will feel a world of difference after a week with me… I'm going to teach them the art of reverse-swing. There will be two sessions everyday, in the morning and then in the afternoon, followed by a physical training session with the team trainer.

First Published: Nov 10, 2006 18:20 IST