Fast bowlers, injuries, COVID-19 and how it affects T10 cricket feat. Mohammad Amir

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Fast bowlers bring a thrilling aspect to cricket. From Malcolm Marshall to James Anderson, fans have witnessed legendary pacers who have managed to overwhelm batters with their speed and technique.

However, the art of fast bowling can be tricky. If there is no proper execution of delivery, batters can use the pace and bounce off it to their advantage and milk the bowler for runs. Additionally, these fast bowlers are prone to more injuries than other cricketers, given the 130kph-plus deliveries that come consistently.

A lot of stellar fast bowlers’ careers have been cut short due to injuries. From Shane Bond and Ryan Harris to Shoaib Akhtar and Ashish Nehra, their injuries have left fans asking for more from these players. For the current generation of pacers, however, there is another demon to fight, COVID-19.

Since bio-bubbles are now mandatory for players participating in a league, their lack of social interaction with friends and families has made this life mentally taxing. On top of that, players being affected by COVID-19 have had to overcome fatigue and other consequences of the virus that may potentially affect their performance.

Just ahead of Season 5 of the Abu Dhabi T10Bangla Tigers’ fast bowler Mohammad Amir pulled out after contracting COVID-19. While he is on his road to recovery, he revealed how net sessions are a lot more tiring now.

“I practiced for two days. When I run for long or if I speak for too long, I start coughing,” Amir said. “It is difficult because you feel fatigued. But as a professional, you need to have the mindset to get yourself out of that zone or it will keep troubling you. You know your responsibilities to your body. I am improving day by day.”

T10 bowling needs the bowlers to be on their feet as batters are looking to go all out from the word-go since they have only 60 legal deliveries to stack up their runs. “It is a very tough tournament for a bowler because the margin of error is minimal. There is no room to settle,” Amir pointed out.

Amir opines that a lot can turn the bowler’s way if they make use of what the pitch has to offer. He elaborates, “If I get swing on the surface, I will take my chance with it. It does not matter which format it is, you should always go with your strengths.”

If a bowler is not able to capitalize on the pitch, Amir insists it is best to use the death overs approach. It is also important to switch game plans quickly, because as a pacer, you only have two overs to make it count.

“If you are not able to find swing, then you have to change your plans in T10 because batsmen come with the mindset to start hitting shots straightaway. You may need to start bowling as one does in death overs,” Amir explains.

Since players, especially pacers, are under heavy pressure constantly in this format, switching mindsets will come with experience, says Amir. “You feel pressure every second in T10. It is good for a player to be under experience because it improves the skills of a player,” he says.

A week ago, Amir had expressed his desire to be a part of at least a handful of games towards the end of the tournament.

The Pakistan veteran, who has played 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20Is, made a comeback in the Abu Dhabi T10 post COVID-19 recovery in Bangla Tigers’ game against Deccan Gladiators on Wednesday.

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