Is the Indian fast bowling cupboard bare?


A little more than a year back when the IPL was going on the general feeling among fans of India cricket was that there was an embarrassment of riches as far as fast bowling goes. There was a resurgent Zaheer Khan, the exciting young Ishanth Sharma, quality swing bowling options in RP Singh and Praveen Kumar, the workmanlike Munaf Patel, the unpredictable yet exciting Sreesanth and the guy we all loved Irfan Pathan, all with decent international experience and performance. Then there was the likely comeback men like L Balaji and Ashish Nehra and the young uncapped Dhaval Kulkarni, Manpreet Gony and Ashok Dinda besides the likes of Siddharth Trivedi and an ageing Ajit Agarkar.

After a year the picture is not looking as rosy as it was. The domestic season ahs taken its toll. RP Singh and Praveen Kumar hardly impressed though the altter has hung on to his ODI place. Sreesanth was out becasue of injury and has hardly created an impact to warrant selection now. Munaf Patel, though a talented bowler, defies logic in this modern age of stress on fitness, with his lethargic and inflexible body that gets injured often. After today’s performance and his recent bowling efforts I am not convinced if Irfan Pathan can make it to the Indian team as the third seam bowling option behind Zaheer and Ishanth. Manpreet Gony flattered to deceive and Siddharth Trivedi could probably at best be considered a poor man’s Munaf Patel who gets by with a keen cricketing brain. Nehra and Garkar are not in the picture any more. So that leaves the last 2 selections L Balaji and Kulkarni, the remaining names from that bunch who made it to the team on the strength of their domestic performances. Dinda will probably get a look in this year if he continues to impress in the IPL.

So where do we go from here in the next couple of years. Zaheer will bowl for a couple of years atleast and Ishanth is developing very nicely. After that the cupboard is bare. Balaji’s comeback after that back operation is nothing short of a miracle and he gets by today more with his experience and intellect than with any pace. So where are the faster men? Will we able to produce a set of bowlers who can amintain a pace of 140 komh plus for atleast 5 or 6 years? Of course there is the usual complaint of batsmen friendly unhelpful tracks that will never improve becasue of the way our domestic cricket system is run. Right from the senior division leagues every pitch is doctored to such an extent that it is very very difficult to produce sporting pitches.

The other side of the argument when asked how other teams manage to get fast men regularly is that they don’t get as many spinners as we do. But then are we producing quality spinners atleast? The only area where I see consistent improvement is in the batsmen and the centuries they keep piling up. If India needs to target the no 1 spot and hold on t it for decent length of time it needs to gets its fast bowling act together quickly.

— Sanjay

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9 responses to “Is the Indian fast bowling cupboard bare?

  1. Yes, sir! Like I had said earlier, in this same blog, we lack real pace bowlers. The fact is, our pacemen are good. But they lack the stamina and their physical regimen is horrendous. Ishant, Munaf and Irfan have great potential. They need to start endurance training. Otherwise, they are all just mediocre bowlers.

  2. If you see, this problem persists worldwide. Which country has bowlers who do not get injured for say 2 years? Not England, not Australia, not NZ, not Pak, not WI. It is only the SA trio who are being able to play continuously since last one and a half or two years.

    Still will they remain injury free? You just can’t bet. Morkel was injured during IPL while Sreesanth got injured after IPL. I think Sree also doesn’t like playing in India where he gets slaughtered. These make things complicated for us. Otherwise we have a good crop:

    Zaheer
    Ishant
    Munaf
    Sreesanth
    RP Singh
    Irfan
    P Kumar

    and then,

    Kulkarni
    Balaji
    B. Kumar
    U. Yadav
    YoMahesh and so on.

    The second crop needs a lesson in fitness and isn’t ready for international cricket in my opinion. But if BCCI pays even a little bit of attention, few A tours to SA, Aus, NZ or England can really fix things up.

    It is the spin department which is really bare. After Bhajji and Mishra, we have Ojha but Permar chucks. Can Jadeja be a good bowling option? I don’t think so.

    So who do we have?

  3. But do any of these bowlers have the pace that Pakistan/SA/Australia bowlers have? Irfan probably would not even make it to the team in any other country.Apart from giving too many runs to make much of a difference, same for Sreesanth.
    P.Kumar is a medium pacer not fast bowler.

  4. There was one VRV Singh who was supposed quick, and played a few tests and disappeared from the radar.

    India and Dhoni seem to be keen to invest with Irfan with the assumption that he is the next Wasim Akram !

    Spin bowling talent in India has completely disappeared. Even TN can not produce a good tweaker now.

    Shane Warne’s retirement is the major cause of Australia’s current problems.

  5. Dhawal – It be interesting to see if he gets a game. Hope he does well.

    Irfan – doesn’t look like he can ever be the same bowler he was during his early days.

    Munaf – needs some serious mentoring with his attitude and fielding abilities.

    Balaji – can’t say anything . for now he looks like an injured horse when he makes those long and slow strides towards the bowling crease.
    may be he is trying to become an “Idea bowler” as we call it in Gully cricket.

    But I will not be surprised if he makes a good comeback.

    RP Singh – inspite of his failure in domestic circuit, he should be given more opportunities. I hope he doesn’t become another Irfan Pathan.

    Sree needs more oppurtunities too.

    And I agree, we don’t seem to be having Quality spinners in India

  6. Srikanth Mangalam

    If it is a question of the adequacy of Indian pace bowling in T20, then I would challenge if there is any side in the world that has a decent a pace attack to contain batsmen. As far as test cricket is concerned, India does boast of a decent lineup of pacemen.

  7. I agree with you Srikanth. And people questioning the Indian seamers didn’t answer a crucial question which I asked:

    Which country has bowlers who do not get injured for say 2 years? Which country have bowlers who are fit, have terrific attitude, have speed, have swing and can field well as well as bat well?

    None!!

    And if you are expecting all this from Indian bowlers, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed!

  8. A fine match at Wellington. India fought very well till the end, but were unfortunate to lose. This could probably the closest result that the team may see on this tour.

  9. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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