Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The need for a fast bowling role model

India has never had a fast bowling role model.
Sure there was Kapil, but he was medium fast and depended more on swing than pace to deceive the batsman.
Although Kapil is a legend, Imran was more of a role model
because being a fast bowler is cooler than being a swing
Srinath was Indian's only famous quick new ball bowler. Historians will talk about Amar Singh and the pace he generated when he played against England.
I never saw Amar Singh, so I cannot comment on him. Also the guy died in his late 20s or early 30s. I don't remember the exact age.
So where does that leave India?
Kapil has left a legacy behind him. A lot of kids wanted to become good swing bowlers. They were guys who bowled at a pace between 125-135 km/h, but swung the ball a lot, which gave them success.
Srinath was different. He banged the ball in short and generated a lot of pace off the wicket. He learnt the guile of being a fast bowler towards the end of his career.
Srinath was one of the best fast bowlers that I have seen. Very underrated, but effective. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have that legend status that Kapil had, which prompted kids not to look up to him.
My brother and I had this discussion this morning as to whether Pakistan had any fast bowler before Imran Khan. We're sure that they did, but there isn't a name that we can think of and say loud.
Wasim and Waqar are role models for wannabe Indian
and Pakistani fast bowlers
Imran was Pakistan's greatest gift at that time. He had an abled partner in Sarfraz Nawaz. Wasim and Waqar idolized Imran and wanted to be like him. And funnily, kids in India and Pakistan, who want to be fast bowlers say that they would like to bowl like Wasim and Waqar.
Wasim and Waqar are the best bowling combination that I've seen. I've seen another great pair at that time and that was Ambrose and Walsh, but the Pakistani duo could change a match with a snap of their fingers, which is why they're slightly higher. They have great averages, great strike rates and the quality that draws people to them: they are good students of the game, which makes them great teachers. They learnt a lot from Imran, who was one of the best students of the game. And whether you like them or hate them, you cannot deny their contribution to the game.
It's a pity that India never had these guys as mentors. Sure Kapil's done his bit, but unfortunately for the old cricket fan, it's not about the swing. Pace is cooler. Only as they grow older, as Zaheer Khan has discovered, that they use swing and guile to master the art of fast bowling 

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