Fast bowling strength remains key to Test success

The present Indian attack is still on a learning curve.

Mitchell Johnson spearheaded the Australian attack that blew England away.


Cricket has once again proved that fast bowlers, on most occasions, win Test matches and series. Mitchell Johnson from Australia and Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander from South Africa were the destroyers of England and India respectively.

The nearest India came to having such an advantage was with Kapil Dev, who unfortunately did not have support from the other end. He had to carry the burden singlehandedly at most times.

The present Indian attack is still on a learning curve. The last few years have had a trail of fast and medium-fast bowlers who have spurted on to the scene and disappeared just as quickly.

Australia has done a thorough study on the subject of young fast bowlers and has drawn an interesting conclusion. They are now following a policy of not selecting teenage bowlers. They argue that a youngster is still growing physically and, therefore, early selection could lead to injuries.

Cricket Australia now identifies prospective bowlers and puts them through a systematic regime of muscle strengthening. The workload is also regulated.

This maybe one of the reasons young Indian bowlers are getting injured so frequently.

Most of our bowlers are being unearthed from small towns and in their enthusiasm to showcase their skills and fitness during practice sessions, they sometimes overexert themselves. They are put through a fitness and exercise routine that is suited to young bowlers from countries that have had exposure to other rigorous sports at an early age.

Therefore, this same programme is not ideal for a young Indian cricketer.

The time has also come for India to move away from foreign coaches and support staff.

India boasts of some retired world-class cricketers and needs to get them involved.

Australia brought in Darren Lehmann and his simple formula of enjoying the game along with the importance of playing for one’s country has led to success.

India would do well to get Anil Kumble as bowling coach, Rahul Dravid for batting, Sourav Ganguly as a coach and strategist and Sachin Tendulkar as a motivator and mentor.

All of them would bring a plethora of experience and pride. They should be handsomely compensated. Most of them are commentators now and are giving away a lot of useful information to other teams on air. Their presence among our young lot would be a great boost.


(The writer is a former Test cricketer)


Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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