Sunday, 30 December 2012

Why india don't get a consistent fast bowler??

India has not found even a single fast consistent bowler after Kapil Dev. Whether Pakistan the neighbour of india has always come up with the mystries of the world?? Both the countries have similar people, resembling culture and almost equal fervor for sport of Cricket, the mystery being, how come Pakistan has and continues to, produce fast bowlers where as India is yet to produce even one quality fast bowler. Javagal Srinath was fast in the initial stages of his career but later on he also became medium pacer, Kapil was a medium paced swing bowler from day one although India has over 1 billion people, about six times more then Pakistan, and equally passionate about their cricket but still not a single fast bowler. 

It is an interesting and intriguing study to compare these two countries and the reasons that have contributed to such anomaly. There are no apparent reasons for that no one would be able to put a finger on any such element that can explain this oddity. Many theories have been mooted by many an expert and respected players, ranging from Geoff Boycott to Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz and Aqib Javed, have all tried to explain this phenomenon in some detail. Some of these theories have some substance and make sense but still do not explain the vast difference in its totality. 

The most successful Indian pacers, by no means fast, has been Kapil Dev with 434 wickets in an 18 year international career and Javagal Srinath has 236 wickets in 11 years of international cricket. That is significantly less then Imran 362 test wickets, Waqar Younis 373, Wasim Akram 414 test wickets, all these were genuinely fast bowlers and match winners. It is not only about wickets either, it’s about speed, serious speed that Pakistan has been able to produce and India has not. Even before Imran there was Sarfaraz with his 177 test wickets, arguably the founder of reverse swing, Asif Masood in 60’s with only 77 wickets and before them all Fazal Mahmood, not express pace but enough to disturb the best batsman with 139 wickets in his illustrious career.

Also in the over all comparison, especially in the last two centuries Indian cupboard looks bare, where as Pakistan, and as such many other countries, had to leave out really good fast bowlers, India failed to produce any genuine fast bowler. Once again reiterating that Kapil was a medium pacer and Javagal Srinath was the only genuine quick, although for a brief period, produced by India. General mark of quick bowling being someone who bowls in high 80’s mile per hour speed category or around 140 kmph range, if not in the 90’s. Let us just have a look at the names that come to mind from the last two decades, even if some of them did not play for much longer due to lack of positions in the team or injury. Zaheer, Irfan and munaf have the ability to fast bowl the have reduced with time.

Many experts beleive In india bowling coaches for action askes bowler to reduce the speed while in Pak the coaches allows the bowler to bowl however the bowler does with any action and speed. In recent only Zaheer was the hope for the fast bowling. He was performing stunning from last 2-3 years. He took 21 wickets in the 2011 world cup but his inconsistent form has put indian fast bowling on stake.

From Pakistan point of view if you exclude the obvious five fast one i.e. Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoib and Sami, you are still left with genuine fast bowlers like Azeem Hafiz, Tahir Naqqash, Fazle Akbar, Mohammad Akram, Mohammad Zahid, Shahid Nazir, and to an extent Aqib Javed (he was quicker then any of the Indian bowlers but was classified as medium due to relative comparison with two W’s) Mohsin Kamal the list goes on (we have not included Medium pacers like Siknadar Bakht, Wasim Haider, Rashid Khan, Jalaluddin, Azhar Mahmood, Abdulrazzaq etc.)

Well, what are the reasons for such difference, although India also has had MRF pace academy for the last 20-years or so with the sole remit of producing fast bowlers where the legendary Lillee works with youngsters, but, so far the academy has produced nothing of substance.

There are four theories that prevail in the Pakistani cricket circles that outline the reasons for Pakistan producing fast men consistently rather then India. Rahul Bhattachariya outlines these in his book, Pundits from Pakistan, in his interview with Aqib Javed, the theories have been put forward by many people in Pakistan cricket at different times, including Imran Khan, but Aqib has put them together in his role as academy coach and under 19’s team coach in the last four years. 

To be a fast bowler you need to have, it goes without saying, speed, but in order to generate speed you generally need to have a physique suitable for bowling fast, aggression i.e. the mental make up of a bowler, willingness to bowl fast, once again mental side of things and stamina and desire, and culture and a system of grooming fast bowling. So we understand that most of these four factors, if not all of them, make up a fast bowlers along with the natural ability or talent, which is a given for any sport. A closer inspection of these factors one by one reveals the reasons for them being in an individual or not and its impact on the ability to bowl fast consistently. 

Where the traditional Indian cricketing heroes have been batsmen like Punkaj, Vinoo Mankad, Nawab Patuadi, Nari Contractor, Ajit Wadekar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath and the list goes on. Is it any surprise that India has produced Sachin, Rahul, Yuraj, Dhoni and Sehwag and they should be able to find an express bowler soon.

But still, all of the new brigade is medium pace, Zaheer was quick when he came on, so was Nehra and every one expected Irfan to get quicker but all of them have become medium pacer with the passage of two to three years in international cricket. But none of them were as quick as the new bowlers bursting onto Pakistani cricket scene, Rana, Asif and Razzq all consistently bowl faster then their Indian counter parts but all are categorized as medium pacers, at least three current fast bowlers in Pakistani first class cricket are bowling over 90 mph regularly and still have not been able to get into the national side, Najaf Shah, Yasir Arafat and Mohammed Irshad. 

In my opinion it is the two later factors that are major reason for the disparity in fast bowling resources in India and Pakistan. Although having a good build certainly helps and once you have the skill, attitude either comes with it or becomes irrelevant, Steve Harmison is a genial chap, but O boy can he bowl fast. Tino best of West Indies is very aggressive but can he bowl in international matches? And the next big problem in India’s lack of fast bowlers is the development of fast bowlers or their education about fast bowling, Nehra, Agarkar, Balaji and Zaheer were all much quicker when they came into the Indian side then now and Irfan looked like a genuine heir to Wasim Akram’s throne, but have all either gone down or stopped growing, in terms of speed of bowling, in the last couple of years.

And Pakistanis need not worry, the grass is still green in the land, PCB and Pepsi recently conducted fast bowling clinic in a bid to unearth the fastest young bowler in land. From eight zones they picked the two fastest bowlers, below the age of 20, 16 bowlers assembled and then were reduced to 8 once again on the basis of sheer pace, all eight bowled well over 90 mph. And Wasim Akram and Imran Khan, who both knew a thing or two about fast bowling, say that the peak of a fast bowler is from the age of 24 till 29 when the body has filled up and bones strengthened, meaning this is the time when fast bowlers are at their quickest and more recently Anwar Ali and Jamshed Ahmad shone in the under 19 world cup final, incidentally against India, by successfully defending 109 runs.

India has always been a great batting sides. There all hero are the batsman, even country has produced many legendry batsman. But as a passage of time india is losing in bowling department leaving fast bowling beside india does not have a quality spinner now. Harbhajan is out of form and ashin in no more way to be a very good spinner. Whether Pakistan is improving his batting sides. Its a perfect time for Selector to give some attention to bowling department and find some good bowlers.

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