Fast Bowlers can send a chill down the spine of the best batsmen and give them nightmares with speed, swing, bounce and movement. Fast bowlers are predators, who with their genuine pace and skill have troubled batsmen of all eras.
They force errors and sometimes make even the most skilled batsmen look inept at the crease. There have been some great quicks who have graced the game.
The likes of Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Wasim Akram and Glenn Mcgrath to name a few. A pair of skilled fast bowlers operating in tandem with the wicket providing some bounce, swing and seam can be a very potent weapon for a captain.
As a successful cricketing nation with a rich cricketing history, we also have produced a few quicks who have scripted some amazing wins over the years. Pacers like Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan have lent a sharp edge to Indian attacks in the past.
In our current lineup we have the likes of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav leading the pack, with Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar lending support.
However, we have never had a potent combination of fast bowlers to overwhelm the opposition, especially in non-spin friendly conditions. The hunt for a couple of pacers who can bowl consistently at the international level and make an impact in the test arena and create problems for the opposition in the shorter format continues.
Where are the next generation fast bowlers for India’s national team going to come from? We look at a few young quicks who are currently laying down markers with their performances in the domestic circuit in India.
With Ranji and Duleep trophy matches being the holy grail for the selection of the best talent available in the country, these players have impressed the most in the last few seasons.
Hailing from a place called as Palghar in Maharashtra which lies 87 kms from Mumbai, Shardul’s cricketing journey was not easy to begin with. Lugging his kitbag and travelling up and down for his cricketing practice was difficult but this is what the stuff of dreams are made up of.
Shardul made it into the big league by making his first-class debut for the Mumbai Ranji team in the year 2012.
Mostly being used as a squad player in his very first season, Shardul picked up 4 wickets at an average of 82, not the best of starts. The young man from Palghar was advised to improve his fitness and lose weight for the next season.
Leaving no stone unturned, Shardul came back leaner and meaner and bagged an impressive tally of 27 wickets at an average of 26.25. He then went a step further by taking 48 wickets at an average of 20.81 in the 2014-15 season.
These performances led him to an India A call-up for the tours of Australia A and South Africa A. He was also selected for the Board President’s XI side to face the South African side where he picked the prized scalps of Faf Du Plessis and Hashim Amla. The biggest moment of his fledgling career came when he was picked in the 16 member squad team for the tour of West Indies.
21-year-old speedster Nathu Singh burst onto the scene with figures of 7/87 against Delhi playing for his home state of Rajasthan in this year’s Ranji season. This performance earned him a place in the Board President’s XI to face South Africa in a two-day game, where he impressed many with his pace, free-flowing action and the ability to produce natural in-swingers.
Spotted by legendary Australian fast bowler Glenn Mcgrath and trained under the watchful eyes at his MRF pace academy in Chennai, Nathu Singh has already been praised for his work ethic and his raw pace by the master himself.
Hailing from a modest family, with his father being a simple labourer, Nathu’s journey hasn’t been anything short of incredible. His fortunes once again took an upward curve when he was purchased by Mumbai Indians in the IPL auction for a whopping 3.2 crores.
The youngest on the list is this pacer from Madhya Pradesh. In the recently concluded U – 19 World Cup in Bangladesh, Avesh Khan led Indian attack reached the finals of the tournament, where he picked up 12 wickets. He made his Ranji debut for Madhya Pradesh in the year 2014/15 picking up 15 wickets in five matches at an average of 3.50 and strike rate of 27.45.
Avesh’s talent has been clearly visible since he was 17 and when he was part of the India U-19 side in 2014, he clocked a speed of 138.9 kmph.
Only time will tell whether one or more of these speedsters will translate their nascent talent into success on the bigger stage. They will have to play a part in building a stronger spine for Indian fast bowling at the international level.Published 16 Sep 2016, 16:13 IST