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  1. Upvote
    express bowling got a reaction from sourab10forever for an article, Indian fast bowlers in 2018 - Those who were selected for the test series in England and those who barely missed out   
    Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

    This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

    Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

    The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

    Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
     

    Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
     
     
    Jasprit Bumrah
    Age 24
    Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
    Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

    He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

    His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


    Md. Shami  
    Age 28
    Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

    Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

    I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


    Umesh Yadav  
    Age 30
    Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

    Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

    If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


    Ishant Sharma   
    Age 29
    Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
    Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

    But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

    He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
     

    Shardul Thakur 
    Age 26
    Test average  -  Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

    He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

    We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


    Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


    Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
    Age 28
    Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
    Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

    He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

    After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


    Md. Siraj  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

    A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

    He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

    He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


    Ankit Rajpoot  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


    He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

    He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


    Navdeep Saini  
    Age 25
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

    He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

    He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


    Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

    This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
     
  2. Upvote
    express bowling got a reaction from sourab10forever for an article, Indian fast bowlers in 2018 - Those who were selected for the test series in England and those who barely missed out   
    Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

    This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

    Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

    The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

    Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
     

    Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
     
     
    Jasprit Bumrah
    Age 24
    Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
    Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

    He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

    His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


    Md. Shami  
    Age 28
    Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

    Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

    I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


    Umesh Yadav  
    Age 30
    Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

    Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

    If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


    Ishant Sharma   
    Age 29
    Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
    Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

    But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

    He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
     

    Shardul Thakur 
    Age 26
    Test average  -  Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

    He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

    We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


    Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


    Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
    Age 28
    Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
    Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

    He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

    After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


    Md. Siraj  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

    A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

    He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

    He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


    Ankit Rajpoot  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


    He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

    He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


    Navdeep Saini  
    Age 25
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

    He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

    He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


    Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

    This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
     
  3. Upvote
    express bowling got a reaction from sourab10forever for an article, Indian fast bowlers in 2018 - Those who were selected for the test series in England and those who barely missed out   
    Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

    This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

    Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

    The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

    Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
     

    Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
     
     
    Jasprit Bumrah
    Age 24
    Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
    Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

    He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

    His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


    Md. Shami  
    Age 28
    Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

    Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

    I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


    Umesh Yadav  
    Age 30
    Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

    Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

    If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


    Ishant Sharma   
    Age 29
    Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
    Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

    But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

    He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
     

    Shardul Thakur 
    Age 26
    Test average  -  Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

    He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

    We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


    Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


    Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
    Age 28
    Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
    Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

    He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

    After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


    Md. Siraj  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

    A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

    He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

    He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


    Ankit Rajpoot  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


    He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

    He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


    Navdeep Saini  
    Age 25
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

    He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

    He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


    Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

    This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
     
  4. Upvote
    express bowling got a reaction from sourab10forever for an article, Indian fast bowlers in 2018 - Those who were selected for the test series in England and those who barely missed out   
    Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

    This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

    Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

    The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

    Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
     

    Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
     
     
    Jasprit Bumrah
    Age 24
    Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
    Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

    He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

    His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


    Md. Shami  
    Age 28
    Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

    Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

    I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


    Umesh Yadav  
    Age 30
    Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
    Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

    Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

    If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


    Ishant Sharma   
    Age 29
    Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
    Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

    But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

    He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
     

    Shardul Thakur 
    Age 26
    Test average  -  Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

    He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

    We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


    Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


    Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
    Age 28
    Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
    Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

    India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

    He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

    After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


    Md. Siraj  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

    A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

    He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

    He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


    Ankit Rajpoot  
    Age 24
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


    He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

    He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


    Navdeep Saini  
    Age 25
    Test average - Yet to debut
    Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
    Bowling style - Right arm fast

    A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

    He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

    He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


    Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

    This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
     
  5. Great Post
    express bowling got a reaction from Laaloo for an article, The importance of introducing and backing exciting new talent with regularity   
    I remember the year 1989 very well.  Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace.  We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past.  Crickets fans were feeling directionless.  Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks.  Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria  lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted,  the whole nation " batted "  through him.
     
    In 1991, a tall, thin guy,  with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath.    The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match.  While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries  by a few runs in both those tests.  Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
     
    Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85,  a bespectacled Kumble taking a  4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991,  Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000,  a dashing Sehwag  scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever.  More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
     
    No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
     
    Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship.  Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among  certain sections of fans.  Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
     
    Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity  because of superstars and stars.  Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her.  Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
     
    In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+.  Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
     
    I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
     
    We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy  to our team.
     
    I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling  departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair,  Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti  etc. etc. are waiting. 
     
    It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names.  It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
     
     
  6. Great Post
    express bowling got a reaction from Laaloo for an article, The importance of introducing and backing exciting new talent with regularity   
    I remember the year 1989 very well.  Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace.  We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past.  Crickets fans were feeling directionless.  Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks.  Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria  lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted,  the whole nation " batted "  through him.
     
    In 1991, a tall, thin guy,  with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath.    The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match.  While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries  by a few runs in both those tests.  Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
     
    Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85,  a bespectacled Kumble taking a  4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991,  Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000,  a dashing Sehwag  scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever.  More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
     
    No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
     
    Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship.  Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among  certain sections of fans.  Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
     
    Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity  because of superstars and stars.  Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her.  Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
     
    In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+.  Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
     
    I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
     
    We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy  to our team.
     
    I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling  departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair,  Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti  etc. etc. are waiting. 
     
    It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names.  It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
     
     
  7. Great Post
    express bowling got a reaction from Laaloo for an article, The importance of introducing and backing exciting new talent with regularity   
    I remember the year 1989 very well.  Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace.  We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past.  Crickets fans were feeling directionless.  Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks.  Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria  lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted,  the whole nation " batted "  through him.
     
    In 1991, a tall, thin guy,  with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath.    The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match.  While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries  by a few runs in both those tests.  Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
     
    Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85,  a bespectacled Kumble taking a  4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991,  Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000,  a dashing Sehwag  scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever.  More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
     
    No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
     
    Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship.  Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among  certain sections of fans.  Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
     
    Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity  because of superstars and stars.  Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her.  Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
     
    In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+.  Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
     
    I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
     
    We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy  to our team.
     
    I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling  departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair,  Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti  etc. etc. are waiting. 
     
    It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names.  It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
     
     
  8. Great Post
    express bowling got a reaction from Laaloo for an article, The importance of introducing and backing exciting new talent with regularity   
    I remember the year 1989 very well.  Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace.  We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past.  Crickets fans were feeling directionless.  Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks.  Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria  lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted,  the whole nation " batted "  through him.
     
    In 1991, a tall, thin guy,  with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath.    The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match.  While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries  by a few runs in both those tests.  Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
     
    Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85,  a bespectacled Kumble taking a  4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991,  Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000,  a dashing Sehwag  scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever.  More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
     
    No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
     
    Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship.  Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among  certain sections of fans.  Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
     
    Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity  because of superstars and stars.  Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her.  Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
     
    In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+.  Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
     
    I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
     
    We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy  to our team.
     
    I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling  departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair,  Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti  etc. etc. are waiting. 
     
    It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names.  It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
     
     

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