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IPL, BBL has forced pacers to enhance skills quickly, says Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath has said the skill level and range of shots batsmen employ in the modern era due to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL) has forced pacers to rapidly increase their skill sets.

cricket Updated: Jul 17, 2017 19:11 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Glenn McGrath,IPL,BBL
Glenn McGrath played for Delhi Daredevils (DD) in India Premier League (IPL).(HT Photo )

Modern cricket has become a batsman-friendly game. Teams are posting totals in excess of 350 and 200 in ODIs and T20Is respectively on a regular basis. Wickets in most parts of the world are flat and encourage batsmen to go for their shots. For bowlers, especially pacers, it has become difficult. With the advent of leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL), analysts have pointed out that fast bowlers are becoming an ‘extinct’ species.

(Read | Happy to see quality fast bowlers emerging from India: Glenn McGrath)

Glenn McGrath, Australian pace legend who symbolised accuracy, acknowledged that the intensity of the game has increased due to IPL and BBL. However, he added that the era is challenging for pace bowlers.

McGrath, currently in Chennai to celebrate 25 years of the MoU between the MRF Pace Foundation and Cricket Australia for the exchange programme of budding cricketers, told HT, “Fast bowlers need to work hard. When you look at IPL, BBL and even ODIs these days, batsmen are a lot more aggressive and are playing quicker. The skill levels of batsmen have increased with new shots. Bowlers have to increase their skill levels. One has to bowl yorkers at will, change of pace has to be used regularly.”

(Read | Former England skipper Alastair Cook reveals the toughest bowlers he has ever faced)

Not doom and gloom for pacers

In the era of high scores, the larger picture is that these leagues have benefited fast bowlers. In the last three editions of IPL, West Indies bowling all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was the leading wicket-taker in 2015 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar topped the list in 2016 and 2017 with 23 and 26 wickets respectively.

In BBL, Sean Abbott, John Hastings and Clint McKay have been on top.

(Read | Zimbabwe’s ODI series win over Sri Lanka good for cricket: Ravichandran Ashwin)

Performance suggests that pacers are adapting, and McGrath said, “This is the difference between good and great fast bowlers. How quickly they adapt to different conditions will be the key. Wickets are becoming flat and good for batsmen. Fast bowlers have to adapt quickly irrespective of pitch conditions.”

(Read | ‘Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan didn’t deserve public humiliation’)

Happy memories

As director of coaching at the MRF Pace Academy for the last five years, the MRF Pace Foundation, the only coaching academy in the world to train pacers, holds a special place for ‘Pigeon’.

“It has been amazing. To think 25 years ago I came to Chennai as a trainee at the cricket academy in Australia; I am enjoying it. The association with MRF Pace Foundation has been amazing. With Australian pacers coming here for the last 25 years, it has been beneficial even for fast bowlers in India.” McGrath added.

First Published: Jul 17, 2017 18:58 IST