Time Friday Jan 28 2022
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PSL 7: Ottis Gibson opens up about Pakistan's 'rich history' of producing fast bowlers

Ottis Gibson.  — Provided by the reporter.
Ottis Gibson.  — Provided by the reporter. 

KARACHI: Former West Indies fast bowler and globally-acclaimed cricket coach Ottis Gibson has said that Pakistan has a rich history of producing quality fast bowlers and the Pakistan Super League has become a great platform for talented fast bowlers to express themselves at a bigger stage.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, the former West Indian head coach said that being in PSL is an exciting opportunity for him to see Pakistani bowlers in action.

Gibson was announced as an assistant coach by the PSL team Multan Sultans ahead of the seventh edition of the tournament.

The 52-year-old said that he's excited to see the amount of young and exciting fast bowlers that Pakistan produces.

"You know, there are a lot of fast bowlers. To see the young fast bowling talent that appears in this country is amazing. So, as a fast bowling coach to see some of them firsthand is a really exciting opportunity for myself," he said.

Talking about Pakistani fast bowlers, Gibson – who has remained in coaching positions with England, Bangladesh, South Africa, and West Indies – praised Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.

He also highlighted the importance of the Pakistan Super League for the young fast bowlers in the country.

"Shaheen Afridi is an outstanding bowler. For someone so young to have it seems like he's got a really good head on his shoulders. He knows what he's doing with the ball. He's very skilful and also very confident and then you've someone like Haris Rauf who's got that extreme pace that is again very exciting to see from a young fast bowler," he said regarding Pakistan's fast bowling duo.

"And, there's a supply chain of these fast bowlers in Pakistan, I was speaking to Saqlain Mushtaq, he was the head coach and he was telling me there's at least 10 or 15 of those guys back home who can bowl 140 Plus, and are just waiting in the wings you know, I guess the PSL gives them the platform to come and express themselves and show the world what they can do," the former West Indian cricketer added.

He further said that it is obviously a good thing for Pakistan cricket going forward that the PSL is exporting such exciting talent at such a young age.

He also hailed Multan Sultan's fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani and hoped for another good season in PSL for "Larkana Express".

"I think the future is very bright for Dahani," Gibson said.

“He is very excitable, he's a very exuberant guy, he's got a lot of good peace and has got good skills. He had a really good season last season. So, hopefully, he can have also another good season and bring success to Multan,” he added.

He also shared his experience of coaching the Bangladesh team to a historic win against New Zealand in New Zealand earlier – in his last assignment with the team.

He said the process took two years in which fast bowlers of Bangladesh were made to believe in themselves.

"The differences in Bangladesh compared to Pakistan is that Pakistan has a long history of fast bowling, and there is a rich fast bowling culture in Pakistan which they don't have in Bangladesh," he explained.

"It has taken two years to build a group of fast bowlers that is capable of going over there and achieving the victory that we did, two years of really putting some good work into them and making them believe in themselves because there was not a lot of belief in fast bowling n Bangladesh," he said about when asked what helped Bangladeshi bowlers achieve the feat.

Replying to a question, Ottis Gibson said that while T20s are batsmen's game, they also provide the opportunity for bowlers to develop more skills in an attempt to become more effective in the shortest format of the game.

"If you look at the batting, the batting skills have improved since the beginning of T20 cricket, there are different shots that batsmen are coming up with and I think this has made fast bowlers think more about how they can still be effective and still win games," he said.

"The one thing I say to the guys every bowling group that I work with is that you have to accept in T20 Cricket that you are going to get hit. It's the batsman's game, but every ball is an individual event, you get hit one ball, you forget about that volume focus on the next ball and make sure that the next ball you execute," the fast bowling coach said.

The T20 World Cup-winning coach said that the best way to slow down the scoring rate in any format is to take wickets.

"The dot balls are massive but at the same time, if you can take wickets in the power play it slows down the opposition scoring. 

"In the middle overs, where you've got a little bit more leeway, you don't want to present the same ball all the time because the batsman can line you up easily and you want to bowl different balls, showcase your skills in that period and not be predictable, be unpredictable in T20 cricket and bowl different varieties."

Talking about the death overs, he said: "there is execution, it is one ball at a time, it is if you decide in your head you're going bowl a yorker, then make sure you do. You might go into perfect yorker and the batsman edge it for four, it doesn't mean that it was the bad ball," he said about different bowling strategies."

When asked if he would like to work as a coach for the Pakistan team, Ottis Gibson said that he's open-minded to work anywhere in the world.

"As I said, there's a lot of fantastic talent here in Pakistan and maybe one day, one day I get the opportunity to come here, to work here and share my knowledge and build a team here in Pakistan as well. So, I don't rule out anything when it comes to coaching," he concluded.

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