"Umar Akmal is let down by his shot selection & batting discipline" : Ian Bishop

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A fearsome sight with the cricket ball in hand, Ian Bishop took 161 wickets in 43 Test matches at a strike rate of 52.2 during a career that was sadly curtailed by back problems. Tall, aggressive and with searing pace, Bishop was a sight to behold when in full flow and bowled a near perfect outswinger.

Since retiring from cricket in 1998, Bishop has forged a successful career as a television commentator and is a familiar face on television screens around the world.

In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net Bishop speaks about his own career, talks about bowling with his cricketing heroes such as Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh, provides his opinions on the Pakistani pace duo of Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan, suggests what Umar Akmal needs to do to establish himself as an international cricketer and also speaks about the importance of ensuring an even contest between bat and ball in one day cricket.


PakPassion.net : How would you rate your own career which was of course curtailed by injuries?

Ian Bishop : Now is a good time to look back at my career and I would say that yes I am disappointed that I did not play more Test cricket which was of course due to a couple of back injuries. But outside of that I’m happy to have just played cricket for the West Indies.

As a youngster growing up there and getting out on the field and playing forty or so Test matches was a blessing. I have no regrets, yes I could have done more and played more matches but I don’t live in regret. I was just happy to be on the same field as the likes of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and Malcolm Marshall, all of whom were of great assistance to me. I feel I was blessed to have played in the era that I did with those legends of fast bowling.


PakPassion.net : You’ve mentioned some great names in the previous answer, were they your cricketing heroes?

Ian Bishop : I came through high school between 1979 and 1983/84 when the West Indies started their rise and their period of dominance in the early 1980s. That team under Clive Lloyd was a team that captured my imagination and my interest started with the batting side of Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge who were players that I really admired, as when I started playing cricket in my first couple of years of secondary school I was a batsman. However I never really played too many shots and people nicknamed me Geoffrey Boycott as I didn’t score that quickly and I really did not take up bowling until mid way through secondary school where I started to have a great deal of admiration for, and started to copy, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Malcolm Marshall. I just tried to emulate aspects of their bowling and tried to incorporate them into my style of bowling.


PakPassion.net : Your back injuries are well documented, but in your own words do you think it was down to your bowling action or just bad luck?

Ian Bishop : The medics and experts of the day pointed to a mixed bowling action and that compounded with the fact that I was playing a fair amount of cricket at that time. I was playing county cricket and international cricket as well and maybe I was overdoing it as I was only in my early twenties back then. We are seeing a fair amount of those injury problems now particularly with the Australian fast bowlers.

Looking at the issue in retrospect, I made some alterations to my bowling action based on medical and technical advice thereafter where I tried to get my feet and upper body aligned as I was informed that they weren't aligned when I was bowling. All that contributed to the problems that I had.

However I’d like to think that fast bowlers these days are better informed about such things, even though the volume of cricket is still having an impact on injuries to quick bowlers.


PakPassion.net : You mention the modern day Australian fast bowlers who seem to be having a terrible time with injuries. Based on your own experience, do you have any advice for them?

Ian Bishop : Having gone through my career with a couple of stress fractures, one in 1990/91 and then a recurrence of it in 1993, I thought there would be enough examples like mine for scientists and medics to be able to secure or guide up and coming fast bowlers against that type of recurrence. However, these types of injuries are still occurring and maybe as some have said, the body needs to be a little hardened before young bowlers play a huge volume of cricket. It’s difficult to point a finger at why this is happening but people need to be mindful of the amount of cricket some fast bowlers are being asked to play at such a young age.


PakPassion.net : What would you say was the most memorable bowling spell in your career?

Ian Bishop : Two spells come to mind. The effort in the final Test in 1990 in Lahore against Pakistan where Curtly Ambrose and I took five wickets each was memorable because of the conditions. We knew it was going to be difficult to take wickets unless we were really skilled on that tour of Pakistan.

Another spell that was memorable was my 6 for 40 against Australia at Perth in 1993. I always liked bowling at Perth as did any fast bowler of my generation because of the bounce and the pace on that pitch at that time and to follow up on Curtly Ambrose’s six wicket haul in the first innings was very satisfying.


PakPassion.net : Comparing your era with the modern day, how do you think fast bowling has evolved, if at all?

Ian Bishop : One day cricket has become much more difficult for bowlers in general all over the world with the fielding restrictions, shortened boundaries and various rule changes. Test cricket continues to be a good battle between bat and ball where pitches are good, but the biggest challenge in Test cricket for bowlers is that batsmen are generally looking to score a lot quicker now. But despite all of the problems there are for bowlers now, we need to concentrate on producing better quality pitches that offer a greater contest between bat and ball, irrespective of heavier bats and irrespective of shorter boundaries.


PakPassion.net : How do you think you would have done on the pitches that we’ve recently seen in the one day series between India and Australia?

Ian Bishop : (laughs). I think it would have been a huge challenge. Even bowlers of the calibre of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and Glenn McGrath would not have been able to go for 35 to 40 runs in their ten over spells in those conditions. They certainly would not have gone for five or more runs per over and would not have been as bad as some of the bowlers we’ve seen in that series. The conditions in India really tested the skill levels of the bowlers and we’ve seen the challenge that the new fielding regulations present to the bowlers and the fielding teams. I do sympathise with the modern day bowlers because of the conditions and the rule changes particularly in the one day format which have made things very very difficult for bowlers.


PakPassion.net : Pakistan toured the Caribbean earlier this year, a series that you were commentating on. You obviously saw Mohammad Irfan at close quarters, what are your impressions of him?

Ian Bishop : First of all I have a big regret about Irfan and that is that he’s come into international cricket at such a late stage. I wish he’d come into international cricket at twenty one years of age rather than thirty one. He’s one of the few bowlers in world cricket who is exceptional and unique especially as it's very rare that you see a guy that tall who is bowling as quickly as Irfan does. The world would have had a unique and fearsome bowler who could have played for more than a decade if he had played for Pakistan when he was twenty one.


PakPassion.net : You also saw Junaid Khan bowling in the Caribbean, what are your thoughts on Junaid's bowling?

Ian Bishop : Junaid is a very skillful bowler and he can develop a full range of deliveries. Whereas Irfan has the advantage of height, Junaid has more variety in his bowling and he could be a better and fuller bowling package than Irfan. I’m not saying that Junaid is a better bowler than Irfan, just that he has the ability to develop a better all round package when it comes to bowling and be a better all round bowler.

I like Junaid’s bowling, I like his wrist position and I like the fact that he has heart and runs in hard all of the time. He can also be deceptively quick as well. There’s a lot to like about Junaid, I like his attitude and that attitude will tell us a lot about him in the next couple of seasons as fast bowling is about your attitude and your heart and not just about running in and bowling.


PakPassion.net : You’ve always praised Umar Akmal during your commentary stints. What advice would you offer Umar to help him become a world class batsman?

Ian Bishop : Umar Akmal has a great deal of talent. I believe that is part of the reason that fans and some in the media are a little disappointed and disenchanted in how he has done so far in international cricket. He has played some key innings but I think he is a better player and could be an even better player than what the statistics suggest right now. He has the full range of strokes, but the things that let him down are his shot selection and his batting discipline and his cricketing discipline. But that comes with experience and mentoring.

I love what I see in Umar’s batting and maybe a stint playing some cricket overseas other than the Twenty20 leagues would benefit Umar and give him a greater balance in his mental process. This would also give him greater batting discipline and really bring his talent to the fore. Despite the occasional disappointment I really like Umar and we have to realise he’s still very young.


PakPassion.net : Many of us who grew up in the great era of the West Indian battery of fast bowlers wonder if we will see those days again. Is it unrealistic to think that the West Indies will be able to develop a team again that contains four great fast bowlers?

Ian Bishop : That’s very difficult to predict. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that from West Indian teams. Our teams were judged on the great pace bowling foursomes we had. We had riches in abundance with Roberts, Holding, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose, Walsh, Croft and others and it was always going to be difficult to carry that forward into the future. Those great West Indian fast bowlers didn’t start their careers as great bowlers, but they ended up being great through hard work and every generation of West Indian fast bowlers is now judged by their standards. Very few people dominate for the extended period that the West Indian cricket teams did largely due to their fast bowling resources and the great batsman they had.

It’s going to be very difficult because there is so much cricket being played, especially with all of the Twenty20 tournaments being played around the globe. I look at someone like Ravi Rampaul who has been playing all three formats for the West Indies and his body will just not let him play all three formats at the moment. Cricket is just much more demanding for fast bowlers these days and it’s a challenge for fast bowlers just to stay fit. I’d love to see that plethora of great West Indian fast bowlers, I’d love to see four great fast bowlers coming along for the West Indies but I think it’s going to be very challenging for that to happen.


PakPassion.net : The lure of millions from Twenty20 leagues around the world against the chance to represent one’s country in all formats. It’s a tough choice for fast bowlers isn't it?

Ian Bishop : It’s an extremely tough choice, not only for fast bowers but for all cricketers. Test cricket is very hard on the body for a bowler as you are running in for five days especially when you are playing on flat pitches bowling twenty or more overs a day. Then you have fifty over matches that you want to play in.

Twenty overs cricket leagues offer a cricketer a chance to secure their financial future in a shorter space of time and with less demands on the body. Look at Shaun Tait and the injuries he has suffered. Also look at someone like Brett Lee over his career. These guys love Test cricket but their bodies just don’t allow for the demands of playing in all three formats.

I’m sure they all love playing Test cricket but if pace bowlers get a chance to secure their financial future in a short period of time, with less pressure on your ankles, on your back or on your knees and very importantly more time to spend with your family, then I think it’s a "no brainer". I don’t envy modern day cricketers having to make this type of decision. Had we had this choice to make during our era, then I think a lot of players would have eased off their workload in international cricket.


PakPassion.net : Do you think there are too many Twenty20 leagues around the world and a danger that these leagues have an adverse affect on other formats of cricket?

Ian Bishop : I think the market will decide on the popularity of Twenty over leagues. It’s a free market and it’s impossible to tell any country or Board that they shouldn’t set up their own Twenty20 league. You cannot simply let the Big Bash and IPL to take place and then say to the PCB or any other board that you aren't allowed to set up your league!

Test cricket has its challenges because it’s a different era that we live in and some see a day’s play in a Test match as a long day and rather drawn out. There’s a challenge now regarding the length of a Test match. The market will play a huge role in the next 5 to 10 years in deciding which format(s) they want to see. It's important to remember that cricket is an entertainment business, it’s not about the media, the players, rather it’s about providing entertainment to the paying public or the people watching matches on television.


PakPassion.net : There’s a possibility that Mohammad Amir will be allowed to play domestic cricket ahead of his five year ban for spot fixing. Do you think this sends out the right signals and do you think the five year ban placed on him was fair?

Ian Bishop : Amir was young and impressionable and I trust the system that has been put into place for him to make a comeback. Take athletics for example, some athletes fail dope tests and they at some point are allowed to come back and resurrect their careers. We need to move beyond his ban and he needs to ensure that when he does come back he tries to make the most of this second cricketing life he is getting, and to perform to the best of his ability when or if he is back in a Pakistan shirt and to “erase” what he did.


PakPassion.net : Can the West Indies defend their World T20 crown in Bangladesh next year?

Ian Bishop : I think they can and I’m not just saying that because I’m a West Indian! If you look at that team that won the last World T20 nearly all of those players are still around and available. India has a dynamic batting unit and the conditions will suit them but I think the West Indies not only has a powerful and explosive batting line up but they also have a pretty good bowling unit too. I think the West Indian bowling line up is probably a little more skilled than the Indian bowling line up in twenty over cricket, particularly in the seam bowling department.

I really do feel that the West Indies stand a good chance of repeating their World T20 win if they are hungry enough and if they go out to Bangladesh with the same level of determination as they did in the last World T20.


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nice and sincere comments about u akmal. atleast ex foreign cricketers care about talent.our ex players love to bashing him just like :moyo
 
I'm sure Whatmore would be able to tell you how hard it is to drill some sense into Akmal's skull, Bish...
 
Good interview, with several insightful points.
 
I do not agree that T20 leagues have adversely affected cricket or atleast we cannot generalise like that

Take IPL for example. Contrary to rhetoric it has helped indian cricket. Their batsmen are fearless and capable + confident of chasing any total around 300 in ODIs
 
Good interview, with several insightful points.

Bishop has merely confirmed what we all already knew. Akmal has serious mental issues when it comes to batting . I.e. he's not dependable at all. Doesn't values his wicket . Only values it when he's given out.... Then he makes that face which I won't even attempt to describe. He's just childish and petchulent .
 
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Really enjoyed the interview. 100% agree with him on Umar Akmal the kid has so much premeditation in his shots even though he is my fav player I believe he is reckless most of the times which is really annoying.
 
The most important point Ian Bishop made was Umar Akmal needs to play Longer format cricket in a foreign domestic league like 'County cricket in England' this is something all Pakistan team batsmen should do except for Misbah and Younis Khan (who has already done that). All Pakistan Former greats played and learned from the county cricket.
 
So much for yousuf trying to boost asad shafiq over u akmal. Everybody knows u.akmal is super talented, its his mental issues that are blocking him from succeeding. He needs to play county cricket or shield cricket to become and disciplined batsman
 
Yes he has talent! Everyone has talent! But if he is not delivering at the international level then he shud be dropped! He is not bigger than cricket! We need to drop him! Enough with his failed comebacks!
 
We have almost wasted Fawad Alam who cud have been a very good player if he had been persisted with instead of Umar Akmal!
 
This is the problem i have with most experts. Umar Akmal is a decent player who deserves to play for his country but he is not this super invincible talented freak that everyone portrays him to be, he is an ok player who has done well for himself in the years he has been playing for his team. An average of 37-38 with a SR of 85 in a team with a very below confident weak batting line up is nothing short of wonderful. Sure he can do better, he should bat up the order at 3-4 and can be a useful player for Pakistan.

The same thought process should apply to Shehzad, Jamshed, Shafiq, Amin, Maqsood. This hyping up is riddiculous and does more harm then good and puts too many unfair pressures, expectations. Umar Akmal has temprament issues and it is so far clear he cant bat in a finishing role hence it is better to play him at the top of the innings at no 3-4, in fact why not gamble and open with him like India did with Teenda?
 
I've been watching Pakistan a lot, and I really want them to win. They need to ditch this primitive mentality.

This is the fault of Misbah and others conventional way of thinking.

Bat for 50 balls and get out playing a defensive stroke and nobody will say anything. Then after 4 wickets fall, required run rate will be 9 and the guy playing a stroke trying to score "lacks shot selection and discipline". He has "mental issues". The guy who scores 40 (30) "throws it away" and the guy who scores 30 (50) showed great application.

As long as Pakistan cricket thinks like this it will get nowhere. Good players are being choked to death because they aren't allowed to play shots.

Recently teams with this mentality: NewZealand, Pakistan are doing very poorly- look at NZ they play so slowly in ODI's but still lose wickets, but in T-20's they do very well because they are forced to slog. Similarly all the teams now which slog throughout such as India, Australia and even Bangladesh are doing very well because they are understanding that even if you play defensively you can get out. Tuk-Tuk only guarantees that you don't score runs and puts more pressure on batsmen to come.

Someone before already showed Umar's record. It's good and it would be even better if they just let him play instead of telling him to become Misbah 2.0
 
I've been watching Pakistan a lot, and I really want them to win. They need to ditch this primitive mentality.

This is the fault of Misbah and others conventional way of thinking.

Bat for 50 balls and get out playing a defensive stroke and nobody will say anything. Then after 4 wickets fall, required run rate will be 9 and the guy playing a stroke trying to score "lacks shot selection and discipline". He has "mental issues". The guy who scores 40 (30) "throws it away" and the guy who scores 30 (50) showed great application.

As long as Pakistan cricket thinks like this it will get nowhere. Good players are being choked to death because they aren't allowed to play shots.

Recently teams with this mentality: NewZealand, Pakistan are doing very poorly- look at NZ they play so slowly in ODI's but still lose wickets, but in T-20's they do very well because they are forced to slog. Similarly all the teams now which slog throughout such as India, Australia and even Bangladesh are doing very well because they are understanding that even if you play defensively you can get out. Tuk-Tuk only guarantees that you don't score runs and puts more pressure on batsmen to come.

Someone before already showed Umar's record. It's good and it would be even better if they just let him play instead of telling him to become Misbah 2.0

This. Misbah is the real culprit. Root of all evils and main cause of our decline.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
 
So whose fault was it today that he played that ridiculous shot after hitting the previous ball for 6?
 
So whose fault was it today that he played that ridiculous shot after hitting the previous ball for 6?
His own, the idea was right to finish off the match before the last over. The execution was poor, nothing to moan about though 8/9 runs required per over even after that six and 8 wickets in hand why not go for it ? Or would you rather have him leave balls like Hafeez did. Shot was bad, idea was correct.
 
His own, the idea was right to finish off the match before the last over. The execution was poor, nothing to moan about though 8/9 runs required per over even after that six and 8 wickets in hand why not go for it ? Or would you rather have him leave balls like Hafeez did. Shot was bad, idea was correct.

Idea was good but execution was bad. Pretty much covers all major howlers in sport, life etc etc.
 
Even with his pathetic shot selection and indiscipline, he in the ONLY Pakistani in the elite list of Top 20 ODI batsmen of the world .... from all eras!

Does anybody wonder why???

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Even with his pathetic shot selection and indiscipline, he in the ONLY Pakistani in the elite list of Top 15 T20 batsmen of the world .... !!!

Does anybody wonder why???


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^^

Yeah he's a good T20 batsmen. I'll give you that.
 
..and why he is not a good ODI batsman.

IMO.... he is a better ODI batsman than he is a T20 batsman!

Where does he rank in the world in the list of top ODI batsmen?

No sarcasm intended.

Serious question.
 
Where does he rank in the world in the list of top ODI batsmen?

No sarcasm intended.

Serious question.

1) Did you miss post # 22 with a list of Top 20 ODI batsmen?

No sarcasm intended.

Serious question.


2) Since his ODI debut, he is 3 highest run scorer in ODI ... at #5/#6;

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/en...9;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting


3) But is you mean ICC ranking then he is ranked above all Pakistani ODIs batsmen except Misbah;

http://www.relianceiccrankings.com/ranking/odi/batting/


...and he is ranked ABOVE a lot of permanent member os other teams;

Any more concerns... questions??? I hope, 3 lists are enough?

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Once again my sincere appreciation to Ian Bishop for his time.

I think he's got a poin about Umar Akmal and his shot selection.

If you are a batsman and a high number of your shots are high risk then that is just making the bowler's job easier for them.
 
Terrible shot selection today, this despite already having a life after an easy drop on the leg side boundary.

It's becoming increasingly frustrating to watch Umar making a mess of his career.
 
Re: "Umar Akmal is let down by his shot selection & batting discipline" : Ian Bishop

Terrible shot selection today, this despite already having a life after an easy drop on the leg side boundary.

It's becoming increasingly frustrating to watch Umar making a mess of his career.

What is the solution you think? One or two more good batsmen in the team and Pakistan will be in a position to drop him
 
"Umar Akmal is let down by his shot selection & batting discipline" : Ian Bishop

What a waste of talent
 
I hate what he is doing with his career. he must have gotten like 5 opportunities now to score big down there and he failed in all of them
 
"Umar Akmal is let down by his shot selection & batting discipline" : Ian Bishop

Yet some dude in another thread still thinks he is the best we have ever produced :))
 
"Umar Akmal is let down by his shot selection & batting discipline" : Ian Bishop

Sometimes he pulls off spectacular shots. Don't know what more can be done to revive his career.
 
Sometimes he pulls off spectacular shots. Don't know what more can be done to revive his career.

He has to keep the gloves until he stops batting like an idiot. He has got every shot in the book and maybe that is more of a curse than a blessing but he's got time on his side. I just hope he can sort himself out and start making the most of his ability because I can remember the excitement when he first started his career and it looked like he was nailed on to become something really special :(
 
Umar Akmal vs Anwar Ali

Okay let me clarify I am NOT comparing their batting abilities but how they assessed the situation today.

Akmal came in at 128/4, blocked for a while then had a brainfade but luckily for him was dropped. Hit a few boundaries and have his wicket away at 20(37)

Anwar came in at 169/5, looked to rotate strike all the time, waited till last 4-5 overs before he began to attack. Hit some good boundaries and ended at 41(38)

I am a fan of Akmal; he's probably the best wk option for LO's anyway BUT he can be so frustrating at times. All he had to do was look for singles and doubles earlier on, punished the occasional bad balls for boundaries and then look to hit in the last few overs and get us to 250-260.
 
What is the solution you think? One or two more good batsmen in the team and Pakistan will be in a position to drop him

At the moment, the fact that he can keep wicket in the limited overs formats is keeping him in the team.

If he was playing purely as a batsman, he'd have been dropped again.

I just think he's trying to be too flashy. He's trying to play shots that are far too risky and unnecessary. No idea why, he has all the shots and there is no need to play the sort of shots he is attempting.
 
I think Ian Bishop's didn't go through his entire list on Umar Akmal.

Also, people suggest he is hugely talented - but I have kinda fallen off that particular bandwagon. Too many times, talent could have compensated for other shortcomings but was nowhere to be found.
 
This is meant to be the peak part of his career, yet he's still regressing badly.
 
Speaking on a YouTube channel:

"I have always said that when the Pakistan players, particularly the fast-bowlers and spinners come to the CPL, I just love what they bring; I have great regard for Pakistan cricket due to my playing days, so anytime my schedule allows I will come to Pakistan; I have no problems touring Pakistan"

"The problem is that everytime PSL has been held in 2017, there has been a home series in the Caribbean or was the case the year there was the women's T20 World Cup this year; But if there is any opportunity to come I shall make myself available"
 
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