Courtney Walsh picks 11 fast bowlers who could shine in World Cup 2015
As the ICC Cricket World Cup gets closer and the players get more eager for one of cricket's biggest events, I will try to settle some nerves by selecting a few fast, or seam, bowlers to watch or look out for and tell you why.
You will notice that I have no Pakistan or India players on this list, the reason being that I have not seen much of Pakistan of late, which is unfortunate, and no India seamer stands out, in my view. But I can be proven wrong when it comes to the World Cup. I will not be listing them in preference or ranking. I know how unpredictable this game can be, but these are just my personal picks and thoughts.
(1) Mitchell Johnson - With him playing at home, he can be a handful on most surfaces, his confidence will be very high and a lot will be expected of him from his team and captain. He has good pace and can push you on the back foot early with the new ball. Mitch will be used to getting early breakthroughs, or will be brought back to take wickets, so one could say he will be one of Australia’s key attacking threats.
(2) Dale Steyn will also be used similarly to Mitch. He has been one of the most consistent fast bowlers in the last few years, has plenty pace but what I like about him is his controlled aggression and the control and change of pace that he has. He moves the ball around at good pace and can be a handful on any given day and a lot will be expected from him if South Africa is to get early wickets. It will be very interesting to see how he will be used.
(3) Kemar Roach is expected to spearhead the Windies pace attack. Though he is not as tall as some of his colleagues, he has pace and hit the right areas, he is not playing at present due to injury but his late movements could ask a lot of questions, he will be looking to make early inroads whenever he is called upon.
(4) Pat Cummins: Having seen him first hand in South Africa a few seasons ago, I was truly impressed with him and his pace and control. Injury has not been too kind to him, but he has the ability to generate good pace, has a good slower ball and knowing the home conditions will be expected to play a key role in leading the Australia attack as he does move it around as well.
(5) Jerome Taylor: Like Kemar, is not especially tall like most around him, and was out for a while and will see this World Cup as a good personal challenge in leading the attack alongside Kemar. Jerome has pace and swings the ball both ways. Once he finds his rhythm he can be a problem bowler for any batsman. A very crafty operator, once his confidence is up he will be raring to go.
(6) James Anderson has been leading the attack for England for some time now and a lot will be expected from him. He swings and seams the ball around and with the expected conditions will ask some good questions with the new ball. He has a good change of pace as well so he will keep them honest.
(7) Lasith Malinga will lead the Sri Lanka attack and as we all know he has pace along with a very good Yorker. It will be interesting to see how he uses it on these bouncier pitches. He has shown that he is among the best when it comes to bowling at the death.
(8) Morne Morkel has height, good pace gets good bounce and asks good questions of batsmen. With the pitches expected to help his style of bowling, he is certainly a bowler to watch. He also swings it around and will be looking to make early inroads with the new ball along with his partner Steyn.
(9) Steve Finn is another one with good height and he is showing good form and aggression on the bouncier Australian wickets. This World Cup could be where he shows his worth and make a name for himself. He has pace, gets good bounce and does move the ball around and could be the perfect foil for Anderson in the length they both bowl.
(10) Vernon Philander does not have express pace, but he makes up for that with consistency and swing bowls a very good line and length will be putting the batsmen under pressure early and can be a wicket-taker. He has good control and if he gets into the swing of things early will pose major problems.
(11) Jason Holder: Though he might not have the experience of some of his seniors, but with his height he could be troublesome for batsmen. He gets good bounce, has a good yorker and is learning all the time. Jason can be a match winner for his team, and will be learning new tricks all the time as well. It will be a big ask for him to fill the boots of Joel Garner, or his current coach Curtly Ambrose, but he will be trying.
Let me wish all the fast men, and seamers, all the best for this tournament. Happy hunting, as the bat is set to dominate! I will be watching and hoping to learn a few things, so may the best TEAM win. Happy viewing to all.
*This column first appeared on www.icc-cricket.com