'In next 5-10 years, we'll find bowlers who can bowl at 150kmph for Afghanistan'

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Fazalhaq Farooqi can swing the ball both ways and has been using the short ball with a lot of success lately
Fazalhaq Farooqi can swing the ball both ways and has been using the short ball with a lot of success lately © Getty

Afghanistan pace bowling coach Hamid Hassan feels their pace unit is on the ascent in recent years with added responsibility. Hassan, who replaced Umar Gul as the pace bowling coach in March ahead of the three-match T20Is against Pakistan, is now preparing the fast bowling unit to take on Pakistan in the upcoming three-match ODI series, scheduled in Sri Lanka from August 22.

Afghanistan's bowling attack is predominantly led by spinners, but in the recent past, following the arrival of Fazalhaq Farooqi and few others, the pace unit is getting stronger. According to Hassan, this is because the pacers don't want to play just as second fiddle anymore, and want to compliment them better going forward.

"Look, for the first 10 years of Afghanistan cricket there were fast bowlers and later Nabi came, followed by Rashid and lot of other spinners also joined the party. When we were playing matches it was mostly spinners doing the bulk of the bowling and we were dependent on the spinners but that does not mean we didn't have fast bowlers at that time," Hassan told Cricbuzz.

"Now we are trying to bring balance in our bowling attack and as the Asia Cup and World Cup is approaching, we don't want to be dependent on any particular department in our bowling. Spin wise we are very good and there is no doubt about it. But if you come to fast bowling there is Farooqi, who is world number two in T20Is, and there is Farid Malik, Naveen (Naveen ul Haq), Azmat (Azmatullah Omarzai) Nizaat Masood and you see the new guy Abdur Rehman can bowl up to 140 and there is Salim Safi and Wafadar Momand so there is back-up in fast bowling unit.

"Sometimes when we pick the 11 we get confused whom to play and whom to drop. This is a good thing but what we are trying is that we will find bowlers in next five to 10 years who can bowl over 150 for Afghanistan," he said.

"Definitely it's all about mentality because if you support one player and encourage them and let him know that you have the ability definitely that kid will find his own way to succeed. It is not that we are depending only on Farooqi no doubt he is beautiful bowler but others also have the ability and know whenever they get the ball they can deliver. But as a captain as a coach and as a team unit you must support them like motivate them. What we say is that if you can do well in the net you are expected to perform in the middle as well and now we have a good pace bowling unit led by Farooqi. As a bowling coach I am happy that everybody is getting better day by day," he said.

Farooqi is known for swinging the ball both ways but has also been using the short ball well recently. Hassan feels Farooqi's biggest strength lies in not getting worried after being hit as he feels the young pacer has the ability to make a comeback despite being put down by any batsman.

"I tell him (Farooqi) there is Stuart Broad who was hit for six sixes and later picked 600 wickets so getting hit for a six or two doesn't mean the end of the world because after being hit, what is important is that you have to make a comeback and deliver even better. If you see the last ODI against Bangladesh, Shanto hit him for a six and next ball he dismissed him, because he believed in himself," said Hassan.

"Farooqi is a good learner and good bowler and those who can assess the wicket quickly are successful bowlers. As a bowler, after bowling two three deliveries he can understand whether the wicket is slow or fast, if there is uneven bounce or it is two-paced," he said.




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