Where are those in-swingers? Anwar Ali answers

29-year-old says he is still the best fast-bowling all-rounder Pakistan have at the moment

Sports Desk January 20, 2017
Anwar says he is fit and raring to make a comeback in the national team soon. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan right-arm pacer Anwar Ali, who first came into the limelight for bowling in-swinging deliveries to India's U19 team in the 2006 U19 World Cup final, opened up about the loss of the skill that brought him international fame.

Anwar, who was 19 at that time, took five wickets to lead Pakistan to silverware at Colombo including that of now twice double-centurion in ODIs, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma.


Anwar Ali, from pressing socks to making it big

The 29-year-old was once again asked to play a heroic innings for Pakistan at the same venue, Colombo, when the Men in Green were playing against Sri Lanka in a two-T20 series in 2015. His 46 off 17 balls helped the then captain Shahid Afridi’s team to bag the series 2-0.

“I will always be remembered fondly by Pakistan cricket lovers as the bowler who delivered huge inswingers in the U19 World Cup in 2006 and that's really pleasing for me,” said Anwar. “Those were memorable times and an unforgettable period of my life. Of course, I hoped that those in-swingers would have stayed with me throughout my career, but it wasn't to be.”

And why did he lose his in-swing?

Anwar says he had to change his action due to a serious side-strain. “I started playing four-day domestic cricket for Karachi. I bowled some very long spells and as a consequence I suffered a serious side-strain which meant that I had to change my bowling action. Unfortunately, when I changed my bowling action, the in-swing was lost.”

Anwar Ali, from child labourer to Pakistan's latest star

Nevertheless, Anwar is hopeful that he will be back soon with a new and improved outlook. “However, in the past few months I have been working hard on my bowling and fitness. I feel there has been a major improvement in my bowling and people will now see a new-look Anwar Ali with the ball.”

‘Still the best’

Pakistan chief selector Inzamamul Haq, since his appointment, has been ruing the lack of all-rounders in the national team. Recently, Pakistan have been relying on Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz to fill that space.

Anwar Ali dropped from ODI squad against Zimbabwe over poor fitness

However, Anwar says he is still the best fast-bowling all-rounder Pakistan have at the moment.

“It's fair to say that the Pakistan team these days relies on spin-bowling all-rounders rather than fast-bowling all-rounders,” he said. “Credit to those players as they have performed well, but I believe that I am still the best fast-bowling all-rounder in Pakistan and I feel that I can make a strong comeback for Pakistan.”

‘Inconsistent but committed’

Anwar, who has represented Pakistan in 22 ODIs and 16 T20Is, said his inconsistency cost his him position in the national team but he always gave his all for the team.

“I did put in some good performances for Pakistan but I lacked consistency. I've always given my all and I'm proud that nobody can question my effort and commitment for Pakistan,” he explained.

‘Not past my best’

Anwar, who has taken 18 wickets in ODIs and 10 wickets in T20Is for Pakistan, said he still a lot to offer to the team.

Back in contention: Anwar Ali itching to return

“I'm 29 and definitely not past my best,” he said. “I feel that my performances in domestic cricket this season have been very good. I am in good rhythm and in good form with both bat and ball.”

He added that he is targeting the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to prove to selectors that he is worth a spot in the national team.

“I'm targeting the PSL to show everyone that I am not past my best and can still play a role for Pakistan in international cricket. I want to be the best all-rounder of the tournament. The PSL provides all players with a great opportunity to impress the selectors and I have set myself some goals with a view a return to international cricket.”

Anwar Ali was interviewed by PakPassion


Omar Sadiq | 5 years ago | Reply Matter of time when IPL also gets an orchestrated attack, just like the Indians did to Pakistan cricket in 2009.
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