Life in reverse swing
I can eat everything except pork.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Waqar Younis is conversational mode over food at New Delhi's Intercontinental The Grand Hotel. Photos: V.V. Krishnan
BEFORE HIS arrival, fast bowlers were considered injurious just to heads. But 15 years hence there is a long list of master blasters, who were `Waqared' with sorry tales of how they could not bring their bats down in time to those grenades with banana swing and were sent packing their bruised egos and nursing their crushed toes.
All that, however, is history now as Burewala Express has decided to relax but not far away from the action. "Life after retirement is the same. It is just that I am not running around any more. I am very happy that now I can give time to my family. At the same time to keep myself in touch with the game and income going, I decided to join Sahara news channel for expert opinion," says Waqar Younis savouring mulligatawny soup (an East Indian curry soup) at the Intercontinental The Grand hotel in New Delhi.
Refusing to share his food habits beyond that he can eat everything except pork, Waqar wants the interactions to remain limited to the game. "Even in Pakistan, I avoid sharing my personal life with the media."
Back to the course, Waqar has learnt the craft of discretion. On the reported SOS calls from home about joining as bowling coach, Waqar is noncommittal. "I haven't received any such call but I my options are open."
Continuing in the same vain, Waqar feels that the better team has won the series and it has nothing to do with the infighting in the Pakistan camp. "It was a close fight. Pakistan team is full of young, inexperienced players. They are a talented lot. We should give them some time to show their mettle," remarks he, heedless of his group clashes with Wasim Akram, which are now part of cricket folklore.
Enjoying gosht handi korma with naan, Waqar, who fought with injuries all through his career which included missing out on the historic World Cup win in 1992 when he was at the top, negates the opinion that fast bowlers in the subcontinent are more prone to injuries. "Gillespie gets injured after every two games. Allan Donald also faced a series of injuries. Yes, we have our share of problems like the grounds in this part of the world are so hard and pitches are too slow. It puts extra pressure on legs, abdomen and shoulders."
And the action, considering he had to change his action at his prime. "Fortunately, it didn't make much difference to me apart from the fact that I lost some pace." But with reverse swing continuing with amazing accuracy, it was enough to send the Kiwis hopping and Englishmen's stiff jaw dropping in disbelief with Boycott remarking that Waqar is capable of destroying English batting with oranges. "I feel one should stick to his natural action. I do not believe in this talk of foreign coaches moulding action at the young age," he maintains.
Turning to roti and yellow dal, Waqar remembers the day when he bloodied young Tendulkar's nose before scalping with his trademark delivery. "Well, it gives a nice feeling considering it was also my first series but I didn't go gaga over it. This game is a great balancer. Tendulkar matured into a great player and he has hit me many a times."
On the increasing commercialisation of cricket with Shoaib controversy as the latest one, Waqar again returns to his tactful ways. "Indeed, commercialisation has increased and it has made both positive and negative impact on the game. It depends on the individual player, how he handles it." Enough. No, percentage in batting against the swing. Even if the bowler is across the table at a five-star in the Capital.
Send this article to Friends by