Islamabad-Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram believes budding pacers need to play the first-class cricket more as to learn bowling saying Twenty20 was not ideal for developing a quality fast bowler.

“The amount of cricket taking place has changed everything,” Akram said on a YouTube channel as quoted by scroll.in. “T20 cricket does not make bowlers. Back when we used to play, it was six months playing for the national team and another six months for the county team. Youngsters need to play more first-class cricket to learn bowling,” he said. “T20 is amazing, good entertainment, there’s plenty of money involved and I’m all in for the importance of money in a sport and the players.

But I don’t judge bowlers on the basis of their T20 performance. I do so on the basis of seeing how they fare in the longer format.”

The Sultan of Swing, who made his debut in 1984, remembered how he learnt the tricks of the trade from senior players in the Pakistan team at the time.

“When I was new into the team, I used to listen to (former captain) Imran Khan and Javed Miandad remark about me: ‘this boy is a special talent’. “So when I asked them what is so special about me? They said things like: ‘my pace is deceptive, and I swing the ball’.

So then I began working on those aspects. When I went on first tour (to New Zealand) and got 10 wickets, I realised how amazing it was – playing with your idols, for the country, getting paid and I thought this should go on for 20 years,” Akram said.

Akram revealed how he fine-tuned his skills during the practice sessions to make life difficult for batsmen. “Very few left-arm pacers used to bowl round the wicket when I started. As a youngster, I thought if I bowl from this side, a different angle will be generated and batsmen will find it tough.

“Those were the things I learned on my own. I picked up the old ball in the nets, and tried out things like hiding myself behind the umpire during my run-up. The point is to create doubt in the mind of batsmen and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. The 53-year-old expressed dismay at modern-day fast bowlers not doing enough to set up a dismissal.

“I see so many fast bowlers these days, running in the entire day, bowling with the same run-up, same pace, without variations. That won’t make a batsman think. You have to keep them guessing what coming up next. There are so many little things that a bowler can do to trouble a batsman,” Akram said.