Zaheer has enormous mental strength, says Lawson

Former Australia pacer Geoff Lawson said Zaheer Khan is a thinking bowler and because he's so experienced, he understands batsmen.

Sydney (The Telegraph): Geoff Lawson, a former Australia quick and Pakistan coach, spoke to The Telegraph, exclusively assessing the six of his tribe who played in the first Test, at the MCG.

The following are excerpts:


ZAHEER KHAN: Was sublime... He'd been injured in July and I'd been interested to see how he would come back... Despite little match practice before the Test, he came through so very well... Swung the ball both ways, was very good tactically. He was the slowest of all the quicks, but lovely to watch.

USP: Plenty of things, principally that he has a lot between the ears. He's a thinking bowler... Because he's so experienced, he understands batsmen... Has enormous mental strength.

Suggestion: Obviously, he needs more match practice and it will be interesting to see how he goes at the SCG.

ISHANT SHARMA: In my view, he was terrific and bowled the fastest I've seen him do for a long time... If he's going to be consistent at that pace (fastest of 152.2), then he'll be getting a lot of good batsmen out.

USP: His height and the bounce he's able to extract.

Suggestion: He must be fit enough to play back-to-back Tests and to feature in back-to-back series.

UMESH YADAV: Very impressive... A big, solid guy with good pace... He bowls a nice outswinger and, at his pace, will always get wickets.

USP: His ability to bowl the outswinger at good pace. The ability to move the ball at 145-plus kmph is a definite asset.

Suggestion: He should be strong enough to tell the captain that he wants a particular field for a particular batsman. He's too inexperienced, but you've got to be strong sometimes.


PETER SIDDLE: He bowled the fastest I've seen him do for a while... Bowled a great length too... He moved the ball... In the past, he's been seen as more of a stock bowler, but showed different colours at the MCG... Definitely came across as a strike bowler.

USP: His persistence, the hard work that he puts in.

Suggestion: Everybody can improve! I guess he'll improve more when he bowls to different batsmen in different conditions. Perhaps, he should think like a Zaheer.

BEN HILFENHAUS: Bowled the best I've seen him do for a year... He'd been flat in the Ashes last season, but I liked the way he made his comeback, at the MCG... He bowled fast and moved the ball.

USP: His ability to swing the ball away from the right-handers and into the left-handers.

Suggestion: He's got to do it day after day, deliver consistently, and stay fit.

JAMES PATTINSON: A young, strong guy who has just started off... He's 6'5”...He’s accurate, aggressive and consistent... Bowls at top speeds... Somebody with a big future.

USP: Doesn't take a step backwards no matter who the batsman... Keeps running in hard and fast... Sachin Tendulkar was dominating Day II, but he was still aggressive against The Master.

Suggestion: With experience, he could use the crease better... Develop different tactics... He's just begun. The more wickets he gets, the more confident he will be and the more willing to try things.

Finally, on the one Australian quick with the brightest future...

Pat Cummins... He would've been playing if he wasn't injured... He's only 18.