KARACHI

 

GiantPakistanfast bowler Mohammad Irfan said Monday that coaching from pace legend Wasim Akram was helping him retune his action to get the best from his towering frame.

Wasim,Pakistan's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, is running a training camp for fast bowlers as the side prepare for the Champions Trophy inEnglandnext month. At seven-feet one-inch (2.16 metres) tall, Irfan is the tallest man ever to play international cricket and he said working with fellow left-armer Wasim had helped him develop. "Wasim is a legend and he has been kind enough to help me out in the past as well and in this camp he has told me how to use my height to the best effect and has advised me to bowl with a high arm action," said Irfan.

He made his debut in 2010 but fell out of favour until storming back in recent trips toIndiaandSouth Africa. Irfan bagged 11 wickets in the one-day series againstSouth Africalast month,Pakistan's highest in the 3-2 defeat, and terrorised the batsmen on the tour ofIndiain December wherePakistanwon 2-1.

Success on the field has started to make up for the problems his enormous height brought off it -- the 30-year-old has long struggled to find proper sized bowling shoes and a comfortable bed. "My height is now a matter of great advantage," Irfan told reporters on the sidelines of the training camp. Irfan was a huge hit onPakistan's two-month long tour ofSouth Africa, with fans clamouring for a photograph with him.

WithPakistan's usual new ball spearhead Umar Gul ruled out of the Champions Trophy with a knee injury, much will rest on Irfan's sizeable shoulders and he vowed to rise to the challenge. "We will definitely miss Gul, but I will try my level best to focus on getting wickets and help the team win the title," he said.

Pakistan face West Indies, India and South Africa in the group stage of the Champions Trophy, which starts on June 6, while defending champions Australia meet England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the other pool.