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Javagal Srinath: We currently have best-ever line-up of fast bowlers in Indian cricket history

Javagal Srinath believes that the current Indian fast bowling line up is the best ever.
Javagal Srinath believes that the current Indian fast bowling line up is the best ever.
Devadyuti Das

Javagal Srinath was India’s premier fast bowler in an era when pace bowlers were a luxury in Indian cricket. Playing most of his career on docile, low and slow Indian pitches, Javagal Srinath went on to claim 236 Test scalps from 67 games and 315 wickets from 229 ODIs in a career spanning almost 13 years.

The Karnataka fast bowler, who is an International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee now in his second innings, spoke to Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda’s Facebook page on Saturday (June 13). Javagal Srinath has a unique distinction of being part of two generations – one under legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev and the other mentoring the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.

“It is like passing on the baton, it is responsibility of everybody. I got great support from Kapil (Dev) & Co and I made clear to Zaheer and others what is essential to succeed,” Javagal Srinath told Sportskeeda in the interview.
“As of now, India is in the best phase of fast bowlers with (Jasprit) Bumrahs, Yadavs (Umesh Yadav), (Varun) Aaron is a great talent, Ishant (Sharma) and so many others. So pleased the way they are shaping up. IPL has gone a great job," he said.
“We need to translate success to Tests. Then there is Shami, can’t miss out his name. Going by history of India fast bowling, this is the best ever line-up,” India’s fast bowling legend added.

Javagal Srinath is very pleased that he played the role as the stepping stone for the next generation to perfection.

“You as a fast bowler should always be optimistic. It’s nice thing to feel that next generation will be better than you,” Javagal Srinath said.

"Never thought I would play for India": Javagal Srinath

The Karnataka speedster made an explosive debut in Ranji Trophy cricket against Hyderabad but never dreamed of playing for India in his initial days.

“I was not seeing cricket as a profession and never thought I would play for India. One thing led to another and I played Ranji Trophy. Getting a hattrick on debut is a dream for every fast bowler.
“What it gives you is a much-needed push, these things help. We need to win, that was burning in our hearts,” the 50-year-old from Bengaluru recalled.

Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav are bowlers who regularly clock 145-150-plus on the speed gun but such pace was rarely seen till Javagal Srinath burst on to the scene in the early ’90s.

“I didn’t know how quick I was. Pace helps and it is branding for any fast bowler. I banked on pace a little bit too much and bowled too short. Until technology came in and showed me where I was going wrong, towards the fag end of my career, I didn’t change my length and started bowling further up to the batsmen.
“For a good fast bowler, pace is not everything -- how you move the ball, how you set up the batsmen, conservation of energy, etc also play a big role,” Javagal Srinath explained.

Former Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell once commented that Javagal Srinath was even quicker than South African pace phenom Allan Donald.

“When I was not consciously working on my pace, sometimes you get into rhythm or team needs wickets the you start to bowl really fast. What he (Campbell) was really talking about was Centurion ODI when I was bowling really fast,” he recalled fondly.

Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule

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