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Losing pace early a concern for India

Every time a rookie pace bowler emerges on the Indian cricket’s horizons, he is portrayed as the one who will play the role of the “genuine fast bowler” – something that Indian cricket has traditionally lacked.

cricket Updated: Aug 20, 2010 23:24 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Every time a rookie pace bowler emerges on the Indian cricket’s horizons, he is portrayed as the one who will play the role of the “genuine fast bowler” – something that Indian cricket has traditionally lacked.

But, over the last decade, it’s been found that soon after arriving, fast-medium bowlers lose pace and are tagged as mediumpacers or gentle mediumpacers.

Whether it’s Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Rudra Pratap Singh or Ishant Sharma, the tale of the fast bowler losing pace has been constant.

Around the world, fast bowlers lose pace during latter part of their careers. Losing it in the first couple of years of international cricket however, has been the USP of Indian cricket in the 21st century.

What exactly makes an Indian fast bowler lose his pace so soon in his career?

“It’s very difficult to say,” India’s bowling coach Eric Simons says. “It’s different reasons for different bowlers. I think it’s a group thing, it’s the way the captain uses a particular bowler, how a coach allows a bowler the freedom to do his own thing.”

No wonder when Pathan lost pace around a year before the 2007 World Cup, the buzz was that he was asked by then coach Greg Chappell to cut down on his speed so that he could last till the big event without breaking down.

Once he had lost his pace though, he soon lost his menacing swing as well and is nowhere close to even being a fringe player when it comes to the national team.

Though Simons refers to only “the chaps I have been working with” since his appointment in January this year – and Pathan is not among them – the former South Africa coach is optimistic about Ishant getting back to his threatening best.

“We are trying to get Ishant back up to the 140 (kmph) mark consistently. He’s starting to show those signs. As coaches you have to watch out for those signs, but the biggest job for me is to give them confidence,” said Simons.

“When you’re confident, you can run in and bowl quickly in good areas.”

Over the last week, a lot has been said about the need to rotate bowlers in the wake of the excess workload.

Simons though, emphasises that he “needs” to spend “time” with a “pool” of young bowlers if they are to establish themselves at the international level.

“Because it’s a big difference from first-class cricket to international cricket, you need to spend time with them and show confidence in some of them,” Simons says.

Yuvraj has recovered, says Dhoni

Yuvraj Singh has recovered from mysterious “mild dengue” ahead of India’s tie against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

According to Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj, who last batted in the nets on Saturday before having a half-hour knock on Friday, was diagnosed with dengue on Sunday.

But team manager Ranjib Biswal on Friday said that the most experienced batsman in the squad is “fit and available for the Sri Lanka tie”.