printed in daily NATION.Iam copying this interview as it is,without
any changes and as such should not be held liable.
Waqar yonus,Pakistan's newest pace bowling sensation is anunassuming man and
an unaggressive one too,more so by the standards of all those who believe in
breathing fire and ugly stares.Give the cherry in his hand and ask him to turn
his arm over,still there is no menacing looks about him.The gamesmanship in
which the Aussies and the windies lay such store is not his cup of tea.The dread
comes when he actually hurls the ball to the batsman,making it whizz him at a
pace which is disconcerting,frighting and lethal.
Only few months he won his team in domestic cricket,United Bank,the Wills Pentan
gular Trophy,bagging 16 scalps in three matches.But that is usual thing.The extr
aordinary thing for him is going wicketless.And those occasions have been but ra
re for him in every class of cricket.But he went wicketless recently at home.
"I felt bad about it,especially because I had bowled rather well.Had I bowled
badly,I wouldn't have been sorry. But it's a game and these things happen"
In Test cricket he helped Pakistan whitewash the three test series against the
kiwis.Only second such instance in the country's history,taking 29 wickets as
the lone ranger of the attack in the absence of an unfit Wasim Akram and unwilli
ng Imran Khan. Before that spurned by the sussex and taken in by Surrey,he surve
d with such distinction,capturing 100 wickets in all types of cricket for them
with close to 60 coming in first class matches,that at the end of the season
they offered him a five year contract.
When this writer asked him for a short chat,he willingly spared time despite bei
ng tired after a tough workout. Extremly satisfied with his performance so far
in the short time that he has been around,he talks confidently about accompli-
shing much more in the days to come."I am satisfied with my output so far,but I
know that I can do better and in the coming months you would see me returning
better and better figures".Fast bowling he says is a hard work,and " I enjoy
it immensely.That is why I enjoy county cricket so much. You keep playing cons-
tantly,day in,day out,week after week for six months against the best of compe-
tition. that is srenuous work. And I like rubbing shoulders with the best,learn-
ing all the time,honing my skills". he immediatly agrees that county cricket,
where he left the people on the entire county circut and the media agog by lett-
ing the ball do the talking last year,has helped polish his prodigious skills
still further. " By bowling with the best and against the best,you tend to impr-
ove fast.Faster still when people like Geoff Arnold ( former England pacer and
the Surrey coach ) and Ian Greg ( Surrey Captain ) are there to guide you all
the time.Then continuous cricket at such a diverse variety of grounds also keep
you on your toes".
His background is humble. He hails from a farmer family of a small,remote sleepy
town of Burewala,a town that has become known across the cricketing world becaus
e of him. As a young kid he spent a few years with his family in SHARJAH. There
the cricket festivel,not unlike so many Pakistani and Indian families,got his
family interested in cricket. Young Waqar saw IMRAN bowl and,again,like so many
others,he became so enamoured by him that he chose to follow his idol's footstep
Success for him was just round the corner as luckily IMRAN saw him bowl on the
idiot box in the wills cup finals where his searing pace helped his side,the UBL
win the title.The maestro had found a "man" in the 17 years old boy who could do
for Pakistan what his advanced years didn't allowed him to do.
Last year he sat the county circut ablaze and then it was the turn of the helpl-
ess Kiwis,against whom he twice missed a hat-trick,and in the drawn series again
st the Windies he took 16 wickets,on the way setting a new Pakistani record by
taking 50 wickets in 10 Tests,a terrific strike rate by any standards.WAQAR con-
iders it a important landmark but was quick to add:"I don't play for records,I
just want to play for my country,perform to my best and hope that it would bring
laurels for my team,and I want to do that for many many years".
The series against the Kiwis was highwater mark for him,a tally of 29 dirt cheap
wickets from 3 Tests.There he was leading the Pakistan attack all alone,and
after he had demolished them inings after inings,returning mindboggling figures,
here they were accusing him of "doctoring" the ball.That despite the fact that
their skipper Martin Crowe rated him as the best that he had ever faced.The acc-
usation hurt him,but not overly much."It is a blatant lie.Ifwe had done somethin
g with the ball,why didn't they picked it up from the ground and showed it to
Umpires.We didn't do any thing with the ball and there was nothing to show that
is why they they didn't do that.We were too superior to them,and the type of dru
bbing they recieved from us made them look for excuses".
Adding to that he says that" GOD willing I would continue returning such figures
all over the world.I am very keen to do well against England in England when
Pakistan visits that country".
ALI AKBAR BARLAS
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY.