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Cricket: Double quick delivery

New Zealand Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum in action against Australia. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum in action against Australia. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Google Yasir Jan. Hopefully he is the future of cricket.

The 21-year-old Pakistani is known in the sport's bowling parlance as a left-arm quick, right-arm quicker.

He is an ambidextrous bowler who delivers at 145km/h with his right arm and 135km/h with his left.

Jan's heard all the gags about 'bowling in tandem' and has been talked about - in possibly hyperbolic tones - as Wasim Akram one delivery, Imran Khan the next.

However, the current laws mean that, while he can bowl using both actions during a match, he has to inform the umpire first so the batsman can be warned.

Why? Surely this is anachronistic?

In a batsmen's world of bigger bats, shorter boundaries and limited-overs bowling restrictions, Jan's sleight of hand is just what the sport needs to add an element of surprise.

Batsmen can switch-hit at will, without fear of reprisal through a reversal of the lbw law. Their ability to adapt unexpectedly is celebrated. Likewise, bowlers should have ambidextrism as a means of counterattack in their repertoire.

Jan runs to the crease with the ball in one hand and switches grips as he approaches his delivery stride. A natural right-armer by birth, he has worked on his party-trick since childhood.

Such prodigies, particularly in the spin world, have emerged before, but no one has sustained the practice.

Until he was discovered by former Pakistan pace bowler Aaqib Javed in a nationwide talent hunt, Jan worked with his brothers in his family's vegetable shop. Aaqib has form for talent-spotting, too. He is the man who brought 2.16m Mohammad Irfan to the international stage.

Jan has been signed on a 10-year developmental contract by the Lahore Qalandars franchise in the Pakistan Super League. He is expected to be ready to play top-level cricket in a year. Like all pioneers, the cricket world would be better for seeing his rare skill flourish.

In the meantime, he could come under the mentoring of Brendon McCullum in the practice nets. The former New Zealand captain is expected to be signed as the franchise's captain at the October 19 player auction in Dubai.

- NZ Herald

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Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Andrew writes and broadcasts on cricket and the Olympic disciplines for NZME's print, digital, video and radio platforms. His most recent project followed New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2015 northern summer. He has attended four cricket World Cups, three Olympics and regularly works as a correspondent overseas.

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