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Sanjay Manjrekar wants India to find inspirational bowling superstar

Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that despite having a strong pace battery, the Indian cricket team still needs a bowling superstar.

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2017 11:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sanjay Manjrekar,Indian cricket team,Imran Khan
Veteran cricketers Lalchand Rajput and Sanjay Manjrekar during the launch of a book in Mumbai on Wednesday.(PTI)

Despite exemplary performances by bowlers of late, former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar says the Indian team still needs a bowling superstar who can inspire the upcoming crop of players in the country.

“In India, as a country we are a little more obsessed with batting. That is not the case with Pakistan, for example. In Pakistan, the superstars are mostly bowlers, starting from Imran Khan, Wasim Akram to Waqar Younis. So, clearly, their bowling heroes are revered more. It just so happened that India has somehow produced greatness in sport through batsmanship and not so much from bowling; this is more unique to India compared to the rest of the world,” Manjrekar said. He was speaking at the launch of sports columnist, Anindya Dutta’s book ‘Spell-binding Spells’.

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“It’s up to the fans to start making heroes out of bowlers, and I think that is starting to happen now. We have game-changers that are bowlers; (Jasprit) Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar are winning Man-of-the-Match or Man-of-the-Series awards. That’s a nice trend, a different trend, but at the end of the day it’s the fans that have to embrace who their hero is,” he said.

The former Mumbai Ranji skipper said: “All India needs is one bowling superstar and it’s amazing the effect it will have on younger kids. You have can the best academies and infrastructure in the world, but youngsters get inspired by bowling and batting heroes.”

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Maybe, India has found its bowling heroes. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah are arguably India’s best group of quick bowlers ever.

Even in the Test against Sri Lanka in Kolkata, Indian pacers took all 10 wickets in a home Test innings. It was last achieved in 1986 by Kapil Dev, (current bowling coach) Bharat Arun and Chetan Sharma, also against Sri Lanka.

Former Mumbai Ranji batsman, Lalchand Rajput, said: “I always believe bowlers win you matches, you have got to take 20 wickets.”

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Manjrekar praised leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and the confidence displayed by the current crop of bowlers.

“What strikes me about Chahal’s bowling is, I’ve never seen a bowler in a T20 on a flat pitch have the courage to bowl right in the zone where the batsman will usually hit for a six, but he does that and backs himself. It’s amazing the kind of confidence the new generation has. They are not filled with self doubt like previous generations.”

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 23:29 IST