MUMBAI: Pakistan’s towering sensation fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, has been advised by former West Indian fast bowler Joel Garner to work hard and concentrate on his skills and rhythm for better results in international cricket.
Garner, 61, was known as ‘Big Bird’ in world cricket during his playing days because of his 6’-8″ height and massive frame.
Speaking exclusively over telephone from Barbados, he said: “Though I have not seen him (Irfan) bowling, my message to him would be to work hard and utilise his skill in the matches. He has to do a lot of practice in the nets and become a potent force in bowling for his country.”
Irfan made his Twenty20 debut against India on Tuesday.
Although Irfan’s exact height is yet to be confirmed, he is said to be around 6’10”. Prior to him, Will Jefferson at 6’-9 1/2″ held the record as the tallest cricketer to have played the game at the first class level (for Essex and Nottinghamshire).
Speaking exclusively from London, Jefferson said: “It is more advantageous to be a tall bowler I think. The extra bounce you can extract from the wicket is a big advantage as Stephen Finn is proving for England these days.”
Jefferson played with some great Pakistani cricketers over the years, Abdul Razzaq recently and Danish Kaneria at Essex. He also faced Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis on a tour of England in 2000.
“I enjoyed fielding in the slips in my career and being tall was a huge help in this position. But you need to practise keeping low a lot of the time and not coming up too early. Being tall you can reach balls having long arms that other. shorter players cannot reach,” he added.
“My message to Irfan would be to work hard on his footwork and his core muscles, and also his diving and sliding technique as cricket now expects everyone to be an athletic fielder, no matter what size or shape you are.”