Hirwani: Imparting spin key to success

Narendra Hirwani, the former India international and domestic stalwart, is leading a spin-bowling camp for the cream of spin bowlers in India at the NCA in Bengaluru. He opens up about his teaching experience in a short chat with Sportstar.

Narendra Hirwani..."I tell all the boys that they must bowl for several hours daily."   -  K. Murali Kumar

Former India international Narendra Hirwani is eager to pass on the wisdom gained during the course of a first-class career that spanned over two decades.

“If you can play Test cricket, you can adapt to the shorter formats easily. It is like a singer who is classically trained - he can render a brilliant version of any bhajan,” Hirwani says, in a chat with Sportstar.

The 47-year-old is in charge of BCCI's spin bowling camp, which commenced at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) here on Tuesday. Eighteen talented tweakers - including the likes of Karn Sharma, Parvez Rasool and Bhargav Bhatt - will be put through the paces until June 25. NCA batting coach W. V. Raman is also lending his expertise at the camp.

“I try to make only slight modifications in their bowling actions,” he says. The decorated leggie, however, firmly believes that in order for a slow bowler to be at his best, he must impart spin on the ball.

Key to success

“Some of the guys here bowl flat, because they are scared of getting hit. I'm fine with quicker ones, as long as the ball turns. Getting the ball to spin is the key to success. During the start of my playing career, batsmen would get well forward and defend with their pads. The umpires would always turn down our LBW appeals, so us spinners had to do something different. I decided that the best way to counter this was to get the ball to turn big, because then I had a chance of getting the batsman bowled, stumped or caught at silly-point,” he says.

Hirwani, who stunned the world by picking up 16 wickets on his Test debut, adds, “These is so much to learn. Bowling in Delhi is different from bowling in Chennai. Bowling to a set batter is different from bowling to someone who is facing his first ball. You must analyse the batsman's strengths and weaknesses quickly. A fast bowler can scare a batsman by hurling quick bouncers. A slow bowler can also scare a batsman - by using spin, flight and his mind.”

The seasoned campaigner emphasises on the need to train hard. “I tell all the boys that they must bowl for several hours daily. In computer terminology, they are now in the 'loading' stage. Once the installation is complete, the program will run automatically from memory.”

Modern-day cricketers are a fortunate lot, he says. “In my time, there were no camps such as this. When I had a problem with my bowling, I would spend nearly five months trying to find a solution. Cricketers now can get all the answers within minutes.”

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