Andy Roberts may think that Munaf Patel has become a "spinner" but some former India quicks think the Gujarat paceman has cut down on speed to be more effective.
"Is he doing his job?" asked Javagal Srinath, one of the few genuine quick bowlers India has produced in the past two decades. "I think he is. The question of pace doesn't matter as long he is being effective. Also, there is this aspect of conserving energy. I think Munaf has done extremely well of late," Srinath told HT from Bangalore.
According to Srinath, fast bowling has become a matter of "adaptability" these days. "There are various formats, pitches and conditions. In T20, it's a question of containment. What's the point in going flat out on placid pitches? By cutting down on pace as and when required, bowlers have become smarter these days. Still, you can't overlook the fact that Munaf has been taking wickets despite reducing pace."
Roger Binny, the highest wicket taker in the 1983 World Cup, said: "Munaf has lost pace but it has worked for him. His line and length has improved and he has bowled some crucial spells for India. What would you prefer, a wayward fast bowler or a slower one who gets you wickets," he said, speaking from Bhopal.
Paras Mhambrey, another former India medium-pacer and a Mumbai Indians coach in the Indian Premier League, felt bowlers reduce pace to prolong careers. "One has to look at the fitness part and the physique of the bowler. Then comes the aspect of skill. Pace is not the decisive factor, skill is."
Kapil Dev, India's most iconic pace bowler, refused to get into the discussion, saying he is not in India.
(With inputs from PTI)