Razzak keen to lead bowling attack from the front

Published: Saturday, March 5, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Dharamsala:Pakistani all-rounder Abdul Razzaq says he is prepared to take on the mantle of bowling spearhead and finally emerge from the shadows of his celebrity teammates in the coming series against India.

"I am confident and focussing on bowling to a line and length. The captain also wants me to take the responsibility of being the senior bowler. We have Rana, Sami but they are inexperienced as also (Mohammad) Khalil," Razzaq said in an interview to PTI.

"My role will be that of the spearhead. So I will have to work that much hard. In the Tests, I will have to approach my bowling with the mindset of a spearhead. And will have to work with the captain and the team think tank accordingly. I will have to concentrate on that."

The 24-year old from Eastern Punjab has remained in the backdrop despite his destructive batsmanship and nippy pace that has often dismantled the best in the business.

Ever since he made his international debut in 1996-97, Razzaq has toiled uncomplainingly while the star personalities in the team have walked away with all the applause.

He has often been the one the team has turned to, to pull them out of trouble.

But the pullout of tear away fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar with an injury has pitch forked the subdued Lahore-born to the centrestage.

Although Pakistan have talented pacers in Mohammad Sami and the hard-working Naved ul Hasan Rana to not let them feel the absence of Akhtar, Razzaq, being the senior member, will be the cog in the wheel.

Razzaq said he was aware of the significance of the tour and the need for him to deliver while also stating that it did not matter to him that he did not get the deserved attention from the public or the media.

"When there are one or two key bowlers, he (Shoaib) naturally gets all the attention. Things are planned around him, even by the captain. My job then gets restricted to being a part-time bowler.I come on when the strike bowler wants to rest, bowl four or five overs on line and length."

The Indians will be aware of the damage Razzaq can do to them. Premier batsman Sachin Tendulkar in particular will be watchful, as the Pakistani has had the measure of him on more than one occasion in the past.

Razzaq was one of the earliest bowlers to exploit Tendulkar's vulnerability to deliveries that cut in sharply to be bowled through the gate.

The bowler himself was humble about his exploits.

"These things keep happening in cricket. When you take a bowler easy, you give a lot of chances. He (Tendulkar) had a similar approach to me (in the early days). But after that, whenever he faces me, he plays sensibly, according to the merit of the ball.

"It was not a matter of easiness. I too had to put in a lot of effort, particularly the incoming deliveries. When you bowl to a world class batsman, you have to put in that much effort.

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