ODIs and T20s killing the art of pace bowling

The lack of tearaway pace bowlers in recent times is one example of the negative influence of the shorter versions.

Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are exceptions in the current era.


With the Ashes decided, it was Rahul Dravid’s straight talk that made news. The former India skipper referred to the oldest form of the game as its life source (https://cricket.yahoo.com/news/dravid-s-suggestions-to-save-test-cricket-025842258.html), comparing Test cricket to a tree trunk and one-dayers and Twenty20 as its branches.

The erudite Bangalorean hit the nail on the head with the assertion that the longer formats of the game prepare youngsters for the shorter ones.

Undoubtedly, the shorter formats have improved the standard of the game. Today, one sees imaginative shots and innovative bowling and fielding has been exceptional.

But there are a few skills that are dying a slow and painful death. The lack of tearaway pace bowlers in recent times is one example of the negative influence of the shorter versions.

Lack of classical spinners is another.

In today’s cricket, with the exception of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, there are not many bowlers who can be compared to the tearaways of the seventies and eighties like Jeff Thomson, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Imran Khan, or even those who came later like Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Brett Lee, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar.

Most batsmen of that era will swear that they had more spots left by the ball on their ribcage than on the blade of the bat. There are stories of how Thomson and bowlers before him like Frank Tyson, Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith scared the living daylights out of batsmen.

Former India batsman Vinod Kambli told me how he was greeted by the West Indians when he came out to bat in a Test match.

“Let’s see some blood on the wicket,” is what the slip cordon was shouting. There can never be a better example of the expression ‘baying for blood'. Times are different now. Most of those that operate with the new ball prefer to use swing to bag wickets. In their second or third spells, they bank on reverse swing.

The Decision Review System ensures more LBW decisions than ever before making accuracy more important than speed.

The shorter versions encourage bowlers to reduce pace and concentrate on swing and variations. Munaf Patel is a classic case of a bowler who generated speeds past 85 kmph when he started his career, but is much slower today focussing on accuracy.

Fast bowlers need role models. Gilchrist, Hall and Griffith inspired Roberts, Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall who passed on the baton to Walsh, Ambrose and Ian Bishop. The brilliance of Imran spawned the ambitions of Akram, Younis and Akhtar.

Fast bowlers were huge draw cards. Old timers recall how exciting it was to see the gold crucifix dangling on the neck of Wes Hall during his long run-up. The open shirts of Imran, Dennis Lillee and Thomson kept spectators rooted to their seats. It was magical to see uprooted stumps and batsmen running towards square-leg.

Sadly, there aren’t too many fast bowlers who can be termed as role models. Giving more emphasis to Test cricket is one way we will get to see bowlers with sheer speed.

(The writer is a former Cricket Club of India captain and Bombay University cricketer)


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

[TAG: CYCSPL]

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Peter Anderson has started work in Kabul as the fast-developing team prepare for their debut at next year's World Cup. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »