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Burnout just an excuse: Hall, Garner

Wes Hall and Joel Garner are in India to promote tourism in their home country, Barbados.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2007 00:29 IST

For those who have only heard of the fiery, intimidating West Indian fast bowlers of yesteryears, discussing the game with Wes Hall and Joel Garner is in every way to be cherished. The two men — in India to promote tourism in their home country, Barbados — are colossal figures, the 'Big Bird' Garner quite literally, with his height of nearly 7 feet.

Most impressive, though, were their views on the injury-chequered fast bowling talent and opening batting, two issues that plague most teams today.

"What is burnout? You say too much cricket is being played," said Garner, almost dismissing the question with a shrug of his massive shoulders. "I, at my peak, bowled over 800 overs a year. Often, I’d bowl 40 overs a day. But few bowlers in my time suffered from frequent injuries. Burnout is being used as an excuse."

Hall was forgiving, yet he said the amount of cricket remains almost the same. "There is more international cricket so maybe the pressure is more.  But I still think the pacemen have to work hard," he echoed Garner's concerns.

"To bowl fast, you require tough training, a lot of running. You need to take care of your legs and unlike batting, coaches might not be of real great help," Hall added when asked about the frequent changes in Indian and West Indian bowling line-ups.

At 69, Hall looks remarkably fit. Garner, 54, looks pretty sturdy and in like manner, he aired his views on rotation policy of international teams like Australia. "It is costing you good players. You think if McGrath had been rotated, he would have got his wickets? I think that there needs to be competition and not rotation."

One would have assumed that being a West Indian, Hall would not have much knowledge of the problems that plague Indian cricket. But that impression did not last long. On opening batting Hall said, “Sehwag has had irregular partners for long. He reminds me of Conrad Hunte — he was aggressive like Sehwag and had inconsistent partners for long. But then he started playing defensively, and we then had someone holding one end up."