New Delhi: Twenty-eight days is all it has taken for Bhuvneshwar Kumar to go from being an unknown Uttar Pradesh allrounder to India’s pace bowling mainstay.
From his debut in the first T20 against Pakistan on Christmas Day, when he took three wickets for nine in four overs, the Meerut lad has risen in everyone’s estimation – be it teammates, Indian cricket fans, or international experts.
Likewise Shami Ahmed, whose international career is just two weeks old. Both of them delivered memorable victory against Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla and, after two more dominant wins against England, are being hailed as the ones to carry Indian bowling forward.
Ashoke Dinda has been around for longer, but has had to wait for opportunities, and even at age 28, remains a work-in-progress in ODI cricket. He is a bowler with a big heart, who’ll run in all day and take wickets by the bucketful if the conditions are even a little favourable, and could just be the back-up the two youngsters need to continue to put pressure on batsmen.
However, well begun is only half done. Time and time again in the last decade or so, a new bowler has burst on to the scene, and faded away through lack of form or, more often, injuries.
Be it Sreesanth or Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar or RP Singh, Umesh Yadav or Varun Aaron – the country has produced a lot of impressive talent, but still, India’s bowling has always looked the weaker suit, and a lot of that is down to their lack of longevity.
Former India medium-pacer Madan Lal says the young lot need to learn from the mistakes of their immediate seniors.
“They’ve started off well, but now the real test will begin. Not only do they need to keep developing their skills, because batsmen will start analysing and figuring them out, but the fitness aspect is perhaps even more important."
"A fast bowler needs to build stamina and strength, so that he doesn’t break down frequently,” he told MAIL TODAY. “If batsmen are running five rounds of the ground, a pacer needs to run 10. Each time he bowls in the nets, he must simulate match conditions and bowl his full quota of deliveries, not just a few, as is the present practice. That’s the only way to avoid stress-related injuries that seem to happen to every Indian pacer.”
Lal gave the example of Kapil Dev. “Kapil never missed a game due to injury. The secret to that was his strength, stamina and conditioning. I played cricket in England for 20 years, and used to bowl 25 overs a day. Also, a fit bowler will never allow his speed to drop, whereas the others will try to conserve energy and go full tilt only once in a while,” he said.
“It’s good that they can swing the ball, but I would like to see them add some seam movement to their repertoire as well. In Indian conditions, sheer speed doesn’t matter that much, but if you can develop yourself and add late movement off the pitch, it will make you a handful on any surface.”
The two youngsters have only faced two teams – Pakistan and England. With Zaheer Khan’s fitness level and form in doubt and the Test series against Australia on the horizon, Bhuvneshwar and Shami also have a chance to push their case for inclusion in the longest format of the game as well.
Well begun is half done
India's new pacers have made their mark but need to develop themselves quickly.By Shreyas Sharma | Mail Today – Tue 22 Jan, 2013 10:38 AM IST
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