Interview with Sarfraz Nawaz

Former Pakistan fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz dropped in for a chat from Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore during the day-night match between Pakistan A and England on 4 April 1999. Suhael Ahmed assisted Sarfraz with the interview.

Suhael: We will shortly have Sarfraz Nawaz, Pakistan National Coach for fast bowlers and Coach of the current Pak-A team playing warm-up One Day matches against the England team for the Coco Cola Cup at Sharjah.

Suhael: Sarfraz Nawaz is here now and we welcome him at our commentary position at Gadaffi Stadium Lahore. I will start of by asking Sarfraz to comment on the ongoing Pak-A versus England warm up game.

Sarfraz Nawaz: Thank you, its nice to be here. The Pak-A has senior test players and also some under 19 players as well as the new prospects, a mix of fast bowlers and batters. This is an attempt to groom the future Pak team. Playing against this Eng WC99 squad is a great opening for them especially for the youngsters.

JeffGreen: Do you think it is important to have a mix of Experienced test players and youngsters in A teams?

Sarfraz Nawaz: There are 3 players who are on trial for the Pak WC side to be announced on the 6th. They are Waqar, Mushi and Sajid Shah a newly trained fast bowler. Sajid bowled well yesterday and also scored 29 not out. We have taken permission fot this delayed final 15

Suhael: Sarfraz, while this game is going and in between the questions being asked on the irc channel, could you fill us in on your current activities related to the fast bowler training camps conducted by you?

Sarfraz Nawaz: At first I did physical training of the Pak fast bowling prospects to make sure they have strong legs. Then we saw their run up rhythm and approach to the final stride and their after delivery follow through. We ensured they dont come into the danger area of the pitch. Then we filmed them and then we gave them guidance on the finer points. Some required modifications to their bowling action and some we advised a complete new beginning, run up, action and the length of the run up. We told them and helped them make the required adjustments.

(A question on Faisal Iqbal)

Sarfraz Nawaz: Faisal Iqbal is uder 19 and batted at 4 and played against RSA-U19

Kashif: Did you help Shoaib Akhtar?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Actually 4 years ago when I was the Federal Advisor for Sports to the Govt, I held camps all over the country and in Rwp/Islamabad camp, we produced Shoaib Akhtar, Azhar Mahmood and in Lahore we produced Abdur Razzaq and from Peshawar we produced Fazl-e-Akbar. I feeel very happy about his (Shoaib) performance and recently Imran Khan advised him to cut down his run up. In the Dec 98/Jan 99 camps where I was coaching abt 20 or more players on the special instructions of the Chairman PCB, Khalid Mahmood, he came to the camp (Shoaib) and there he told me of Imran's advice. I asked him to bowl with the shortened run up but I did not like the results. I advised him that his basic run up was fine as advised and adjusted by me some years ago. I explained that he generates his speed from his longer run. So he does better and I think he would be ill-advised to shorten his run up. Then, even before going to RSA, 2 years ago he had asked me for further advice and coaching before he left, so, a special net was organised at Khan Research Labs ground in Rawalpindi and he was given some final tune-up and adjustments and use of the crease for one-dayers and tests. He also practiced the use of the crease for both forms of cricket.

wagstaff: Sarfraz, what went wrong with Pakistan against Australia in test series last year?

Sarfraz Nawaz: I think the Pak team did not have a good combination among the team, especially, our bowlers were not fully fit and some of thre players lacked physical fitness. The change in the captaincy also disturbed the team.

ali: But Shoaib does look quite injury prone esp. with so much back in his action. Do you think in the long run he might do himself good by not bowling flat out each time?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Well I feel that he is a genuine fast bowler with the right physique and if he carries on with tough physical training then I think he will not face injury problems. Fast bowlers are prone to some niggling problems which can be overcome.

Kashif: Why dont Pakistan pick players or have camps in Azad Kashmir? Look at the success in NWFP. Any plans to hold camps in Azad Kashmir?

Sarfraz Nawaz: There are many grounds there and an international standard stadium there has recently been built. This has been discussed with the sports minister to develop sports and I also promised I would personally come to coach the cricketers and witness some matches there in the near future.

ali: do you think we should opt for a third spinner in the WC squad (we already have Afridi and Saqlain) or take another seamer?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Due to the early part of the summer season in england which normally is a wettish season and after winter too, the pitches are not fully dry in May. Since the WC99 matches are in early May and Pak is playing in the northern half of the country, there the pitches will be more suitable for seamers. My opinion goes with the medium pacers, all rounders and fast bowlers, and one offie, Saqlain Mushtaq, under the above said circumstances> But Pak may take another spinner, where I differ.

Match progress: Game held up due to the flood light problem again so we can chat some more to Sarfraz on his recent training camp activities.
Match State: Flood light delay
Target reduced to 40 overs and 232 runs

Sarfraz Nawaz: In the Pak camp I have an extraordinary coaching assistant Mr Afzal Butt and his help is appreciated and he is a tremendous assistant coach. He is also the Asst coach of this Pak-A team playing England down below us.

rambler: Any suggestions for the batting line up in WC99? Would it make sense to try Malik at no. 3 if he's taken?

Sarfraz Nawaz: This is a job for the selection committee and at present Salim is not with the Pak team in India. So lets wait for the final team on the 6th of April.

Suhael: Game held up again so we can chat some more to Sarfraz on his recent training camp activities.

Sarfraz Nawaz: In the camp, I produced 4 types of pitches in the main ground and a side net which is called a bowling workshop. We start with the w'shop then when we see the person performing according to our standards, we take him into the middle, for match bowling practice. The four pitches are prepared according as follows, a mud rolled pitch, one like aus/rsa a bit grassy, hard and bouncy, the third is like Eng/NZ green pitches and the fourth is for ODIs meant for the high scoring type game.

We coach all those players on those wickets as well accordingly and teach them to where to pitch the ball on those different wickets.

As an example, on a grassy one we teach them to pitch it up on a good length to make sure the batsman goes onto his front foot, to try to get an edge as the ball will seam. On a pitch like RSA/Aus, hard and bouncy, the length of the ball has to be a bit shorter so it emulates those conditions.

On the mud type pitches like Sharjah, Pak and India, the ball must be on a nagging length that is in between those two extremes I just mentioned.

We also teach the bowlers to assess the batter to check if he is a front foot player or a back foot player. Then he is told to readjust according to that batters style.

Mohsin: Sarfraz, Assalam Alaikum. I appreciate your concern for Pakistan Cricket. Is Asif Iqbal really involved in match fixing.

Sarfraz Nawaz: The matter is sub-judice and I believe Asif has been asked to also appear in the court.

rambler: Do you think our team is short on quality all-rounders...esp. when contrasted with teams like RSA? Could that hurt our chances for the WC?

Sarfraz Nawaz: The main problem with the Pak team at present is we lack in batting, then we are also not as good as RSA in fielding. Now the team is concentrating on these two items and if they keep doing that, Inshallah, we should perform well in The World Cup. The Pak team is trying to get to Eng in the last week of April to acclimatize to the conditions.

Suhael: Lets continue with your comments on the fast bowling camps.

Sarfraz Nawaz: In the camp we have also coached Waqar Younis, who had lost his rhythm, line etc. and we have fixed those problems. His delivery jump had gone too high and his landing was remodified and his arm action, which he used to drop his shoulder, was adjusted to be a higher arm action. He has responded well to our coaching. He regained his rhythm and his confidence and is also a candidate for the Pak WC 99 squad.

Kashif: What happens if Wasim Akram is found guilty and he wins the World Cup for Pakistan. Found guilty by the Judicial Commision.

Sarfraz Nawaz: Well your guess is as good as mine, its all up to the court.

Kashif: Should Aamir Sohail be recalled for the World cup.

Sarfraz Nawaz: In my opinion he should have been in the squad because with Aamer in the team that solves our problem for a spin bowler too and the lack of this is being felt. However, since he did not join the camp he was not considered by the Selection Committee.

cRicPiCs: Assalamu Alaikum:-) How are you?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Thank you for your wishes, I am happy to be here on IRC and CricInfo

Mohsin: Sarfarz, should Mushtaq be selected in your opinion or one spinner is enough?

Sarfraz Nawaz: I have already clarified this as its all very dependent to the English conditions. Please look back for my comments.

rambler: Are you comfortable with Afridi having to bowl 10 overs in the WC. It looks like Aamir Sohail's absence could create a serious problem at the 5th bowlers slot. And if we decide to play 5 specialist bowlers, then there will be batting line up concerns. What do you think?

Sarfraz Nawaz: We have Azhar, Afridi, Wasim who are allrounders and Shoaib, and Saqlain and we may also play another all rounder like Abdur Razzaq. So I feel we have enough choices for the World Cup.

Kashif: What do you think of the improvement Afridi has made in Tests and ODI?

Sarfraz Nawaz: He has definitely improved with the passage of time and with more exposure in International cricket is a great prospect for Pakistan cricket.

Suhael: Some more comments about the camp?

Sarfraz Nawaz: In our camp we have a new contender and an all rounder, Sajid Shah, who has been trained for the world cup as he had also performed so well in the Bolton League and is used to English conditions. We hace a test cricketer, Kabir Khan who had been expensive in the past but has been trained and has just created a record as the highest wicket taker ever, for Pakistan first class cricket domestically. We have Mohammad Akram who played for Northants and Pak and he has been coached and his line and length and run up as well as his action has been modified.

korel: hello sarfraz!

Sarfraz Nawaz: Hello korel

rambler: but that leaves afridi to bowl 10 overs, which may not be smart. I think we should have a 6th bowler in the line up every match just in case one of the bowlers is not performing well or gets hurt.

Sarfraz Nawaz: I had listed 6 bowlers, they are Wasim, Shoaib, Azhar, Saqqy, and one more specialist all rounder or fastie will play apart from Afridi so you have six.

shaq: Where is Mohammad Zahid. How is he progressing?

Sarfraz Nawaz: I have not seen him nor has he appeared in the camp which was totally open for anybody for trials. I hope he decides to come. Shabbir Ahmed is a new find. As he is so new it will take a season to have him shine. He has been bowling steadily in this match satisfactorily.

shaq: Is he healthy? (Zahid)?

Sarfraz Nawaz: He is not playing first class cricket at present

Kashif: Who do you think will win thw World Cup?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Good question! Being a Pakistani, I SAY PAKISTAN!! :=))

shaq: Sarfraz, can you tell us some of your more enjoyable moments in cricket?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Yes! When I took 9 wickets in Melbourne and especially 7 wickets in one run and Pak winning the Test match!

Suhael: Any comments on what is going on here, the tv with the Pak v India final, the game below and all these correspondents from England, news agenciers and Pakistan and the test match in the West Indies, all live and simultaneous?

Sarfraz Nawaz: I am enjoying watching the Pak v India game as well as this match and both are at 9 wickets down, internet is wonderful!

Sami: How fast does Akhtar bowl?

Sarfraz Nawaz: He is the fastest in the World! On the number of young fast bowlers coming up in Pakistan, I would like to especially mention Irfan Fazil and Kashif Raza, they are very young as is Wasif Ali. I see them representing Pakistan soon and I know that we have plenty more in the cupboard. Today, we are winning games depending on our fast bowlers, their fitness has improved since December, no one gets frequently injured and this is a major benefit of the camps.

shaq: Who was the best batsman and bowler when you played? And who is best batsman and bowler now in your opinion?

Sarfraz Nawaz: When I played it was Vivian Richards and in bowling Dennis Lillee stood out!

rambler: What would be your ranking of quick bowlers from around the world today?

Sarfraz Nawaz: At present I feel best are Glen McGrath, Wasim Akram and Courtney Walsh.

rambler: what do you think of the ball-tampering allegations that have been levelled frequently against the Pakistani quicks?

Sarfraz Nawaz: Nowdays this is no more a topic as its not restricted to Pakistan. I heard recent allegations against Atherton. All bowlers from all over the world have now learnt reverse swing so that controversy has died out.

Sarfraz Nawaz: Thank you all I have to go down as the match seems to be over and Eng has won. My fax number is +92-51-270312 if anyone would like to ask me cricket questions. Good Night and looking forward to seeing you all on this channel soon.

Suhael1: We would like to thank Sarfraz Nawaz for coming up and chatting to us. We will have Rashid Latif on April 7th at 14:00GMT.

Suhael2: Good night all from Gadaffi

The opinions expressed in this interview are not necesarily the views of the staff and management of CricInfo, nor are they those of any sponsors of CricInfo, nor of any organisationinvolved in the administration of cricket.

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