Akeal Hosein on the importance of spinners in the Abu Dhabi T10 League
We had the chance to sit down with Delhi Bulls players during the Abu Dhabi T10 League and speak about their chances during the tournament.
Q: Akeal, thanks a lot for doing this. Just wanted to check with you, as a spinner, do you think a spinner Is as important in the short format as he may be in the longer format?
AH: Yes definitely. If you look at recent stats in T20s, I think in the top 10 it is actually about 6-7 spinners in the top 10, so I definitely think spinners are very important in shorter format as well.
Q: How have you enjoyed the challenge of bowling in the United Arab Emirates?
AH: It’s been a good challenge to myself. I am up for any challenge even if its bowling in powerplay, bowling in the middle overs or in the death. So, it’s just about going out there and I think as a spinner you just cannot be afraid of getting hit and just going out there backing yourself and bowling according to plan.
Q: Akeal, how difficult is it to recover when a batsman is looking to go after you in the shorter formats. So, if you have been hit for a few fours or a couple of sixes, how difficult is to recover from that and come back and bowl with your sensibility still intact?
AH: I would say it is difficult for any bowler when you are under that pressure more so as a spinner as I said before, it’s more mindset though you are a spinner, they are going to come at you. So that’s the first thing you need to get in your mind at that I am a spinner and they are going to come at me and its just about execution, you know if you get hit for a couple of boundaries dependent on what type of shot was played or what not. It’s just about focusing on the next ball you know, the previous ball has gone, it’s just about focusing on the next ball, executing what you want to execute and just have a clear mindset when you are approaching the crease.
Q: Is there something about bowling in the shorter formats that excites you?
AH: To be honest, any white ball cricket match be it T20, One Day International or T10, it is exciting in a whole I would say.
Q: How do you prepare in bowling for the White Ball Format?
AH: To be honest, it is really about what the captain wants from you, then you don’t definitely want to be going for any runs as possible, you want to be as tight as possible as a bowler in white ball cricket, so it is whatever role the captain wants, maybe he wants to get a wicket or sometimes he may just require you to bowl a couple overs or couple of tight overs and keep the score down, so its just about being ready whatever the role the captain wants and at the end you accept the challenge no matter what challenge comes in your way.
Q: Is there someone in particular that you look up to when you are bowling in shorter formats. Is there like a role model that you want to emulate and look to emulate when you are on the field?
AH: Definitely if I have to chose someone, it will be Sunil Narine. The way he carries the game all by himself even when he is under pressure, even if things is not going in his way, he is very calm and he just continues to focus on the next ball if he gets hit for four or six, he just focuses on the next ball and he is very calm about doing his work and that’s definitely somebody I look up to.
Q: Akeal, in your view, why are the shorter formats so difficult for bowlers, do you think it’s difficult and what is the key to bowling in the shorter formats in your view?
AH: Yes, I would think that initially bowling in the shorter formats is difficult because bowlers are already under the pump, guys are always coming after you when compared to a Test match it is more relaxed and batsmen are not looking to take you on. Sometimes, you bowl a good ball in the shorter formats and it still gets put away for boundary or six or what not whereas in a Test match a guy might hit the ball only when it is a bad ball or a half volley. So, in a shorter format, the bowlers are already under the pump, the guys are coming after you but having said that the flip side is that you get more wickets and more opportunities in the shorter formats I would say.
Q: You played T20 Cricket now and it’s time for T10 Cricket, what is the key difference between the two formats in your understanding?
AH: I think the difference is that it is shorter but same skills required, may not be temperament where you go looking for wickets I think once you bowl in the tighter areas and you try to bowl as many dot balls as possible, wickets will come. T10 is definitely something which is harder because guys are going to come after you every ball whereas T20 is also short but sometimes a batsman might have a look at a couple of balls before hitting but in T10, it is definitely not a bowler’s paradise, you are always going to be under the pump and guys are always going to come after you, so just looking forward to any challenge and as I said it is about bowling good overs with dot balls and not searching for wickets.
Q: Your fielding is something that caught everybody’s attention especially the return catch you took against England. How hard do you work on your fielding because it seems to me that you are a bowler plus excellent fielder, that’s a huge plus in any shorter format?
AH: To be honest, I personally feel that my fielding has dropped off a little bit, I have been working extremely hard and putting extra time in fielding with our fielding coach (Trevor Penney) at West Indies and it was just a joy to take that catch and a rewarding for helping me out as an extra fielder. I am not there where I want to be but I am slowly getting there and many times I trouble Penney.
Q: Looking at the Delhi Bulls Franchise, reuniting with Dwayne Bravo, Eoin Morgan, Adil Rashid, Mohammad Hafeez, If I were to ask you to pick one thing that you want to learn from each one of them, what would it be?
AH: It is difficult and narrowed down to pick one thing from these guys. They are different players who come from different backgrounds and different teams, ideas and mindset. So, for me, it’s about me being open minded and just looking forward to chilling with these guys and getting experience and knowledge based on how they go about things and their past stories and getting some advice and what not.
Q: Final Question! Can Delhi Bulls win this year’s Abu Dhabi T10?
AH: Yes, definitely. I have been looking at our team and it’s a well-balanced team and obviously whatever team I am part of I am going to give 100% and also do what requires to get the team over the line, so definitely think that Delhi Bulls will win the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10 League.