The Giant from Gaggu Mandi

The Giant from Gaggu Mandi


Fast bowling  is typically, about bowling fast, clocking above 90 mph, hitting the deck as fast as you can and either bowling out the batsman or getting him LBW. It carries with it an idea of aggression and attitude. However, it isn’t just the Speed with which the ball is thrown rather the value additions that the fast bowlers have attached with this art. A fearsome stare at the batsman, a few words that change blood pressure, and not to forget the crowd support on run-up.


The likes of West Indian fast bowlers, the two Ws of Pakistan or may be the combination of Glen McGrath with Brett Lee, showed various aspects of fast bowling: from raw thunderbolts to never ending nagging line in the corridor of uncertainty.


Fast forward to 2013, and in Pakistan’s Cricket squad we have, with a height surpassing 80 inches, 7’ feet 1 inch, Muhammad Irfan, the new arsenal in the Pakistani bowling attack.


Bowling averages















Tests 2 3 317 201 3 3/86 3/121 67.00 3.80 105.6 0 0 0
ODIs 5 5 231 209 3 2/28 2/28 69.66 5.42 77.0 0 0 0
T20Is 2 2 48 45 1 1/25 1/25 45.00 5.62 48.0 0 0 0
First-class 38 67 6211 3638 134 7/113 11/123 27.14 3.51 46.3 5 8 1
List A 29 28 1420 1119 41 5/67 5/67 27.29 4.72 34.6 0 1 0
Twenty20 19 19 419 453 25 3/8 3/8 18.12 6.48 16.7 0 0



On June 6, 1982,  Irfan was born in a small town in Punjab, close to Burewala, which came to fame from another fast bowling legend, Waqar Younis. Other fast bowler from Gaggu Mandi, was Mohammad Zahid, , who took 11 wickets on his debut in 1996, whose career was cut short by injuries.


Irfan came on international stage in 2010 for a brief stint.  He played 2 ODIs against England (40 runs in 7 overs, 2nd match, 37 runs in 5.3 overs , no wickets) and then Abdul Razzaq replaced him for the remainder of the series.


He came back in 2012 and bowled as a genuine fast bowler, with pace and bounce.


He appears to be a seasonal fast bowler who comes on international scene after years of hard work and back bending; one who generally will stay for a series or two and then will disappear in our cricket history.


But what if we try to pause and think for a moment that this old (for cricket) lad, has a tall  height, a good pace and also seems fit to reach the next level of fast bowling.



Is it too late for a 30plus to go for Fast bowling?


To answer that, here I would like to give example of the two West Indian greats of fast bowling.


Courtney Walsh retired from Test Cricket in 2001 after a career spanning 17 years. Curtly Ambrose retired from Test cricket at the end of the England tour in August 2000, with last ODI against Pakistan in April 2000 (career of more than a decade).


Both of them started early and yet played till late 30s, Walsh played his last test match at the age of 38 years! Ambrose played till he was 37 years old; (ignoring height but if talking about age then Imran Khan 39 and Kapil Dev 35). So the Gaggu Mandi giant still can play for another 5 years atleast.


Mohammad Irfan, though has not many records under his belt, and some say that it’s absurd, even laughable to compare them with bowling giants, but what about Irfan’s similar ability to get the natural bounce he possesses due to his height. Both Walsh and Ambrose lost the pace in the mid of their careers, yet they were able to continue with bowling line and length, helped by the natural bounce because of their height.


Some might ask why focus on oldies when we can give chance to the young kids and prepare them for longer period. Yes, PCB should do that, why not, but we don’t get a lanky guy every year and if he is trained for a month or two, targeting the next World Cup; is it not a bad deal.


What we need right now, is one of Pakistan’s great, either Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis(or even Aqib Javed) to train this 7+ footer, how to bowl with discipline and against the best in the world.




Instead of waiting for the next lot of players with raw potential and then giving them experience,  PCB should focus on the players who are already there and require a few bits of wisdom and training to become giants in the gentleman’s game too.


Talib Haider

Senior Anchor at Geo News

  • Farooq Hashmi

    O’ God have mercy! Again that prattle about God-damned cricket ! Again that raving about West Indian fast bowlers, East Indian slow bowlers, South Indian lazy bowlers, North Indian dope bowlers,Test Cricket,Do Not Test Cricket, Gaggu Mandi giant, Sabzi Mandi pygmy, Machhli Mandi dwarf, Gaahs Mandi donkey and what not! If you could stop goring the News Blog page with boredom-laden blogs about the doomed game of cricket.

  • Patriot

    indian’s always intimidated from paki’s fast bowlers, like earlier waseem akram, waqar yonus, aqib javed, shoaib akhter and now a days the 7 feet 1 inch Giant Mr.Irfan & last but not the least Junaid Khan “The Killing Machine” have smashed away the indian’s. We have the extra-ordinary talent but if we get rid off politics which is penetrating day by day in cricket , then we can become world champions again n again.

  • sarfraz

    When you are talking about real fast bowling, how can you forget, shoaib akhter the world’s fastest bowler…Please justify why you didn’t mention him in this article.