India's growing breed of young fast bowlers should not sacrifice pace for accuracy if they want a long career, former speedster Javagal Srinath said on Friday.
"This line and length thing is more of a one-day stuff," he said. "It is important, but you cannot be compromising on pace. "Till the age of 28, pace has to be on the upswing unless there is any real injury problem."
Srinath, a genuine quick at his prime, was referring to Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan, two of the most promising among the young pacemen who have played for India in the last few seasons.
Patel, 23, struggled with fitness in South Africa last year and again broke down in Bangladesh recently. His pace has dropped sharply since he made his debut last year as one of the fastest bowlers in the country.
The team management has also been criticised over the left-arm Pathan, 22, who also lost his initial pace and was axed after his form deserted him last year. Some experts say his increased batting role in the team had aggravated the problem.
"I'm personally disappointed with Irfan," Srinath said. "The commitment to bowling should be more than 100 percent, batting can always be a bonus."
He was speaking to reporters at a ceremony to name the winners of a pace bowling contest, who will get to train under Australian pace legend Dennis Lillee at the MRF pace academy.
Srinath, who took 237 wickets from 67 tests, also urged bowlers to play more games to stay match-fit.
"If you bowl less, you are bound to get injured," he said. "You must bowl 1,000 first-class overs in a year to strengthen the muscles."
"In general, people get injured 60-70 per cent because of less bowling."