Symonds needs to work on bowling, says Sobers

June 9th, 2008 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 9 (IANS) West Indian great Sir Garfield Sobers feels Australia’s Andrew Symonds needs to make significant improvement in his bowling if he wants to be considered a good all-rounder. Sobers, himself known to be the greatest all-rounder of all time, appreciated Symonds for his ability to turn matches with the bat, but was not impressed with the Australian’s bowling.

“When I look at someone like Andrew Symonds, I see a player who has done phenomenally well with the bat, as his record shows. He certainly has the ability to be a very good all-rounder, but I think to be a great one you need to be able to turn a game with the bat or the ball,” Sobers was quoted as saying in The Age.

“I don’t know if his bowling is to that standard yet.”

“A couple of years back, Andrew Flintoff really caught my imagination because he seemed to have it all, but he has had a bad time of it lately,” Sobers added.

Whereas Ricky Ponting has generally bowled him sparingly, Symonds’ importance to the Australian attack is set to escalate. The retirements of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill have left a void in its spin-bowling department. Symonds and Michael Clarke will be called upon to share their bowling workloads while left-arm spinner Beau Casson finds his feet at international level.

As with Sobers, Symonds has the ability to bowl spin or seam, but the similarities would appear to end there. Whether taking the new ball, or bowling left-arm finger- or wrist-spin, Sobers was considered a key component of the West Indies’ attack for two decades, claiming 235 Test wickets at 34.03.

“The great all-rounders were not considered part-timers in one particular department,” Sobers said. “They could turn games at any stage, and on any surface.”

Sobers, though, was highly complimentary of the maturity Symonds has displayed in recent innings.

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