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  1. #1
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    "County cricket is a great learning experience" : Mohammad Abbas

    Pakistan’s visit to Ireland and England earlier this year with a largely inexperienced squad was considered by many observers to be one that was doomed to end in abject failure. However, the results of the three Tests which Pakistan played put paid to many of the naysayers and possibly put into perspective the struggles of the much-vaunted Indian side that was recently defeated by a 4-1 margin by England.

    One of the key performers for the visitors on this tour was the 28-year-old Mohammad Abbas who put in some sterling performances during the Test series and ended up as the highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets to his name. It was perhaps a recognition of his skills that convinced the Pakistan team management to send him to England ahead of the series to acclimatise by playing for Leicestershire. This was an opportunity that the pace bowler accepted with open arms, as he explained in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net.




    “The stint with Leicestershire has been a very fruitful experience especially if you consider the fact that I arrived here before Pakistan’s Test series against Ireland and England and that helped me a lot in adjusting to local conditions and which helped me to perform well for Pakistan. For that I am very thankful to the Pakistan team management, the PCB and Wasim Khan who is the CEO of Leicestershire County Cricket Club who considered me suitable enough to play for the County.”

    For many Pakistani cricketers such as Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Majid Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, time spent playing County cricket has been an essential part of their development as players. For Abbas, to have a chance to represent a County side so early in his international career has been a great opportunity to hone his skills and something which he has used for his benefit, “I am very fortunate that after playing only 5 Test matches, I could get a contract in a quality County side. I feel I have done well this season and this is very satisfying for me as this is not an easy level of cricket to play and succeed in. Even the players batting at the 9 and 10 positions in County cricket are good batsmen with very solid defensive techniques, so you have to work very hard to take wickets in such an environment. Whilst every fast-bowler would love to bowl in English conditions, the fact is that this is not so easy a task to succeed in England without the right skills. A few of the grounds there have slopes and it takes time to adjust but it is a great learning experience. This learning I intend to use to improve myself and also to use in my career as an international player going forward.”

    A very important aspect of playing County cricket is the wide variety of players one comes across. This can range from talented cricketers at the start of their careers to battle-hardened campaigners and as Abbas described, the experience of playing against such players is invaluable and something he can use for his own benefit in the future.

    “One of my aims behind playing for an English County side was to improve on my past domestic and international level performances and for that reason playing alongside some good bowlers in County cricket has been a very useful experience. In the recent County Championship game against Sussex, I played against Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan which was a good experience. Then, I have also had chats with some County coaches such as Allan Donald and Jason Gillespie to get some advice on how I should adjust my game and where fine-tuning is required to perform better. In our recent game against Warwickshire, I had the chance to play against and observe the likes of Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Chris Woakes and Jeetan Patel. All this helps me to understand how they go about their game, their preparation and hopefully I can put some of this learning to practice soon.”

    Playing in Division 2 of the County Championship, Leicestershire have been struggling for the past few years to make an impression. Mohammad Abbas’s inclusion in the line-up this year was expected to have an impact on the fortunes of the club and it seems that the assessment was not too far off the mark, as the fast-bowler explained.

    “If you look at the past record for Leicestershire, they have struggled a lot in the County Championship in recent times. However, this year the story is different and for that one must give credit to our Head Coach Paul Nixon who has worked tremendously hard to improve the team’s fortunes. As far as results this year go, we have won four games so far in total which is a vast improvement to our performances in the past few seasons. We had some close calls and some unfortunate failures in the games we lost this year including the one against Durham where we failed to chase a low target of 148 and against Middlesex where we allowed them to score 381 to win against us. On a personal note, I am very happy that I had a role to play in Leicestershire’s success this year by taking wickets on a consistent basis.”

    Pakistan’s next major international assignment will be against Australia in the UAE which will represent a different challenge for the talented Abbas who, as he explained, will be ready and willing to take on this challenge, “every series has its own importance and the upcoming series against Australia will be a very tough one due to the hot weather conditions in the UAE. In terms of preparations, I played 3 Tests this summer in the United Kingdom as well as quite a few first-class games for Leicestershire and I am fully fit for the next international assignments for Pakistan. I have been bowling long and short spells and also doing gym work with trainers and hope that I will perform well for my country in the future.”

    Whilst Abbas has come close to becoming a sure-fire selection for the Pakistan Test side, he is yet to represent his country in any of the shorter formats of the game. This is one aspect of his career that Abbas hopes will also see some development given his experience at Leicestershire this summer.

    “At the moment, Test cricket has been my main focus as far as my international career is concerned, but, I had a chance to play 9 T20 games for Leicestershire this season and that was a good experience as I took 7 wickets. I now have experience of playing in foreign conditions and am working hard and I will be ready to help out whenever Pakistan needs my services to play in the shorter formats of the game.”

    The hype around the ongoing Asia Cup, as is always the case, is firmly centred around the iconic India-Pakistan rivalry which could see both teams play each other on possibly three occasions during the tournament. Mohammad Abbas is excited about the upcoming competition and is rooting for his nation to emerge as victors.

    “India-Pakistan games are special occasions and of course I am very excited about their encounters in the Asia Cup. It is only natural for me to hope for a Pakistan victory. I do wish my countrymen the best of luck for their matches against India and hope they win the Asia Cup.”

    James Anderson recently broke Glenn McGrath’s record to become the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in Test history. His success is obviously a great moment for the player himself and his many fans but to Mohammad Abbas, an avid fan of the England bowler, the achievement means something special for the fast-bowling community, “James Anderson is one of my favourite bowlers, he's one of my bowling heroes and he is someone I respect immensely. I feel that him breaking Glenn McGrath’s record is great news for fast-bowlers and the fact that he has played 143 Tests is proof of his hard work and stature in world cricket. When I asked him for his advice after the Lord’s Test earlier this summer, he gave me some tips on bowling but then also said I don't think you need my advice mate, as you are bowling so well and have just taken 8 wickets in a Test match at Lord's and helped your country to a win. To me, this is a mark of Anderson’s humility and that is also what makes him such a great bowler and someone I admire,” he concluded.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 14th September 2018 at 22:02.


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  2. #2
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    County cricket is great, but fair to say overseas participation has seen its heyday many years ago.

    These days any overseas players playing seems very extra-curricular.

  3. #3
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    Two matches (against Durham and Glamorgan) remaining for Leicestershire this season.


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  4. #4
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    Abbas would be a complete bowler if he somehow manages to add couple of miles to his bowling speed. Bhavunashewar Kumar used to bowl more or less at a same speed as Abbas when he started off but with time he increased his pace by at least 5 miles and now bowls consistently at around 140 km/h. I am sure with time Abbas would follow suit and by playing county cricket he is likely to improve on all aspects of bowling.


    When in Doubt- Act Stupid....... That's Pakistan Cricket for you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    Abbas would be a complete bowler if he somehow manages to add couple of miles to his bowling speed. Bhavunashewar Kumar used to bowl more or less at a same speed as Abbas when he started off but with time he increased his pace by at least 5 miles and now bowls consistently at around 140 km/h. I am sure with time Abbas would follow suit and by playing county cricket he is likely to improve on all aspects of bowling.
    Abbas doesn't need pace if he can continue bowling accurately and continue moving the ball around

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedwoodOriginal View Post
    Abbas doesn't need pace if he can continue bowling accurately and continue moving the ball around
    Can he be effective on all surfaces or just ones where ball swings?


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Can he be effective on all surfaces or just ones where ball swings?
    So far he has been. Even on the docile UAE pitches. Lack of pace will probably only hurt him in Australia.

    However, I still want to see how he does in South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand to see exactly how good of a bowler he is.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedwoodOriginal View Post
    Abbas doesn't need pace if he can continue bowling accurately and continue moving the ball around
    Would beg to disagree on this, Pace always comes handy when there's nothing happening from the pitch or in the air and sometimes even when the pitch is doing something, the batsmen can negate the
    Swing or seam by batting outside the crease or even at times coming down to the bowler to upset his line and length and we saw this happening to Abbas in 2nd test of recent England series where Butler completely neutralized his seam and swing by playing outside the crease and Abbas failed push him back due to lack of pace.. Butler and our atrocious batting in the first innings won England that game and also draw the series..

  9. #9
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    He has done well in international cricket so far. Hopefully county cricket improves him further. He seems to have a good attitude and always gives his best.

  10. #10
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    Good read

    Matchwinner.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    Abbas would be a complete bowler if he somehow manages to add couple of miles to his bowling speed. Bhavunashewar Kumar used to bowl more or less at a same speed as Abbas when he started off but with time he increased his pace by at least 5 miles and now bowls consistently at around 140 km/h. I am sure with time Abbas would follow suit and by playing county cricket he is likely to improve on all aspects of bowling.
    Abbas and buhvi bowl around the same pace, 127-133 kph.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aloo paratha View Post
    Abbas and buhvi bowl around the same pace, 127-133 kph.
    Bhuvi has added a few miles to his pace and bowls consistently above 135 km/h now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    Bhuvi has added a few miles to his pace and bowls consistently above 135 km/h now.
    Lol when?


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aloo paratha View Post
    Lol when?
    Read this
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.econo...w/58216493.cms

    You may also watch some videos of his recent bowling spells online ..

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by aloo paratha View Post
    Lol when?
    He has built some muscles. He's 140+ bowlers now. Changed his focus a little bit.

  16. #16
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    County cricket used to be the finishing school for upcoming overseas stars. They would learn how to bowl and bat here, come back in the tests and beat England.

  17. #17
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    5-ee for Abbas against Durham, poor guys are 37/7 at lunch

  18. #18
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    Watching Abbas bowl today, it appeared that he was still playing in England! Seems he is suited for all pitches of this world and bowls with same effectiveness


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  19. #19
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    It's just a matter of time before he become the no. 1 test bowler, if he can bowl like that on a road he will be unplayable on helpful surfaces.

  20. #20
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    Imagine Asif and Abbas as a bowling pair. I wonder if there are more Abbas type bowlers in Pakistan.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Watching Abbas bowl today, it appeared that he was still playing in England! Seems he is suited for all pitches of this world and bowls with same effectiveness
    I never got a hold of this game being at work but it looks like Abbas took most his wickets with the old ball which is very impressive because that's a bonus but he keeps proving people wrong and showing us that he is a lot more varied then many assume


    Ah, so this is what it feels like

  22. #22
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    Regardless of conditions if you attack an off stump line or just outside with good line and length you will get more wickets then others which Abbas has shown in this game.


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