Bowling May 13, 2011

Fast bowlers: An endangered species

Cricinfo
From Mrinal Kumar, United States
43

From Mrinal Kumar, United States

Lasith Malinga’s retirement from Test cricket marks yet another instance of a fast bowler’s career being curtailed by injury. Fast bowlers are a breed in steady decline, as the strains of excessive schedules take a toll on their bodies. The physical requirements of pace bowling - an endless run-up, a slinging arm, a fearful grimace at the end of it all - have not meshed well with innumerable number of matches their team plays. As bowlers look to push the speed barrier, they push their bodies beyond the limit. Brett Lee, Shoaib Akthar, Shaun Tait- the three fastest bowlers of this decade. The other similarity they share? They have all played less than 55% of their team’s Test matches since their respective debuts.

Injuries ranging from a troublesome knee to genital warts have kept the fastest men in the game on the sidelines. With Malinga the latest addition to that list, Dale Steyn stands as the only genuine fast bowler left in the world (it is too early to gauge young Kemar Roach). Steyn’s clean injury sheet can only be attributed to the excellent way he has been handled. He has been rested from several ODI series to save his fitness for the purest form of the game- Test cricket. By reducing his workload, South Africa have managed to extract the best from their premier fast bowler - the last of a dying breed.

Fast bowlers of yesteryear had significantly fewer fitness problems. Malcolm Marshall, the face of that West Indies quartet, played more than 75% of his team’s Test matches since his debut. With a schedule unclogged by a limited-overs match every three days, Marshall was able to leave his mark on history without giving up an ounce of pace. Men who try to replicate him these days, however, are met with nothing but frustration and pain- how can one expect their body to survive that type of physical exertion on such a regular basis?

The advent of Twenty20 has served the perfect arena for fast bowlers to express their art - in short, fiery bursts. This comes at the expense of the longer form, however, and one dreads to ponder upon the future of genuine pace. How long can speedsters wage the battle against this elastic schedule? It is time for the ICC to step in and breathe life into the most spirited members of the game. As Steyn hustles into the crease, ball in hand and scowl firmly entrenched on his face, hope – pray - that the ICC takes steps to save this species before it withers away.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonathan Darrell on June 29, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    I disagree that we all want to see only batsmen bashing runs; there is no more exciting sight than a bowler bowling unpleasant express deliveries and making the batsman hop around and fight for runs. However most of the fast bowling greats of the past were great because of their terrific control and variety as well as sheer speed. I'd put Thomson, Larwood, Holding and Tyson at the top of the sheer speed list. Lindwall, Marshall, Lillee, Hadlee and Akram lead my all-round fast bowler list. I remember fast bowlers for a few particular spells I've witnessed; angry Donald against Atherton in the 1990s, Flintoff against the Aussie top order in 2005, Flintoff against Kallis in 2008, Holding at the Oval in 1976, Steele defying Lillee and Thomson in 1975 the highlights. We have plenty of promising truly fast bowlers at the moment in the world; which of them will go on to greatness? An under used fast bowlers weapon; I'd like to see more slower balls in tests.(eg Harmison/Clarke in 2005)

  • Gerard on June 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    I still remember the first game played in Australia with a speed gun. All the commentators were talking about how 'slow' McGrath was bowling that day. By the end of the season it had dawned on everyone that the reason batsmen always seemed rushed and out of position when facing McGrath wasn't because he was fast, but because his line & length were unplayable. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if the same was true of the great 'fast' bowlers of the past (ie Trueman, Marshall, Spofforth etc). So it the schedule or the speed gun destroying the legend of fast bowling?

  • Piyush on May 24, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    @Jonesy,the only reason Johnson doesn't get injured is his simplicity.His run up is so fluent and easy,he hardly has any risk of breaking down.Other bowlers run quickly and break down.

  • cool engineer on May 19, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    When there is a problem there is a solution too........... All fast men should be on rotation and no paceman should be allowed to bowl 50 % of the overs of entire season. this restriction should be imposed by ICC. besides fast bowlers match fees should be doubled to compensate for their loss. This will ensure grooming of more fast men (considering the amount of population and unemployment finding more fast bowlers should not be a problem). every team should have a parallel battrey of pacemen all the time.

  • cricket lover on May 19, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    one of the reason why bowlers of yesteryears played more without injuries was becasue they practiced in nets lot more than their bodies in the gym. the new age training routine has made bowlers weak. they are used to weights and what not and when get in the middle body doesn't like the rigours of bowling. bowl more in the nets, will be fitter for in the game !!! the point about ICC stepping is very valid and must be done. useless bilateral ODI series where 7ODIs are played is a joke. after a side wins the series the rest of the matches should be curtailed.

  • Dineshh on May 19, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Watch out for nuwan pradeep in the future

  • Rick on May 19, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    The article does make some interesting points, however I would disagree with the assertion that Dale Steyn is the only genuine pace bowler in the world. While Steyn is probably the best, there are most certainly others; Mitchell Johnson immediately springs to mind, a genuine quick who is known (when he's firing of course) for bowling with pace, deadly late swing and ferocious aggression. And to be perfectly honest, I really don't think that the bowlers of yesteryear were quite as fast as they are often made out to be - The lack of accurate and consistent speed recordings prior to the late 90's leaves a lot of room for exaggeration when talking up the likes of Marshall or Lillee.

  • Matt H on May 18, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    The comment re Malcolm Marshall and bowlers of his era is not correct. The WI bowlers especially played nearly all year round in county cricket and their own domestic comps. Similarly in Oz the bowlers actually played some Sheffield Sheild. So I suspect the workload is not as different as people make out, except for the travel, which may be a big factor. Other than that I am stumped as to why the injuries are so commonplace these days. But are we overstating it? I remember both Lillee and Thomson being out for months and momths in the 70's

  • mican on May 18, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Hmmm. I think this article proves the old cliche that Americans are ignorant of cricket. The reason Lee and Tait haven't played the bulk of Australia's test matches is that both were bowling too poorly to warrant selection. Akhtar missed many games because of suspensions and internal politicking than injury. Nothing to do with their bodies being unable to stand the strains of the modern game. Genuine lack of quality and team disharmony are the reasons they've played so few tests.

  • manish kumar joshi on May 17, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    issue raised in this article is true some extent but given argumenta not matched with the subject as every one knwos lasit malinga's retirement is cause of attitude towards him by slankan's national selectors while injury is a pretend to hide the real things. Test match is genuine form of the cricket where a bowlers have plenty of approtunity to manage their energy while shortest form of cricket is more responsible for the injuries. If one want to have long career one has to leave up the attractions of league.

  • Jonathan Darrell on June 29, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    I disagree that we all want to see only batsmen bashing runs; there is no more exciting sight than a bowler bowling unpleasant express deliveries and making the batsman hop around and fight for runs. However most of the fast bowling greats of the past were great because of their terrific control and variety as well as sheer speed. I'd put Thomson, Larwood, Holding and Tyson at the top of the sheer speed list. Lindwall, Marshall, Lillee, Hadlee and Akram lead my all-round fast bowler list. I remember fast bowlers for a few particular spells I've witnessed; angry Donald against Atherton in the 1990s, Flintoff against the Aussie top order in 2005, Flintoff against Kallis in 2008, Holding at the Oval in 1976, Steele defying Lillee and Thomson in 1975 the highlights. We have plenty of promising truly fast bowlers at the moment in the world; which of them will go on to greatness? An under used fast bowlers weapon; I'd like to see more slower balls in tests.(eg Harmison/Clarke in 2005)

  • Gerard on June 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    I still remember the first game played in Australia with a speed gun. All the commentators were talking about how 'slow' McGrath was bowling that day. By the end of the season it had dawned on everyone that the reason batsmen always seemed rushed and out of position when facing McGrath wasn't because he was fast, but because his line & length were unplayable. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if the same was true of the great 'fast' bowlers of the past (ie Trueman, Marshall, Spofforth etc). So it the schedule or the speed gun destroying the legend of fast bowling?

  • Piyush on May 24, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    @Jonesy,the only reason Johnson doesn't get injured is his simplicity.His run up is so fluent and easy,he hardly has any risk of breaking down.Other bowlers run quickly and break down.

  • cool engineer on May 19, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    When there is a problem there is a solution too........... All fast men should be on rotation and no paceman should be allowed to bowl 50 % of the overs of entire season. this restriction should be imposed by ICC. besides fast bowlers match fees should be doubled to compensate for their loss. This will ensure grooming of more fast men (considering the amount of population and unemployment finding more fast bowlers should not be a problem). every team should have a parallel battrey of pacemen all the time.

  • cricket lover on May 19, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    one of the reason why bowlers of yesteryears played more without injuries was becasue they practiced in nets lot more than their bodies in the gym. the new age training routine has made bowlers weak. they are used to weights and what not and when get in the middle body doesn't like the rigours of bowling. bowl more in the nets, will be fitter for in the game !!! the point about ICC stepping is very valid and must be done. useless bilateral ODI series where 7ODIs are played is a joke. after a side wins the series the rest of the matches should be curtailed.

  • Dineshh on May 19, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Watch out for nuwan pradeep in the future

  • Rick on May 19, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    The article does make some interesting points, however I would disagree with the assertion that Dale Steyn is the only genuine pace bowler in the world. While Steyn is probably the best, there are most certainly others; Mitchell Johnson immediately springs to mind, a genuine quick who is known (when he's firing of course) for bowling with pace, deadly late swing and ferocious aggression. And to be perfectly honest, I really don't think that the bowlers of yesteryear were quite as fast as they are often made out to be - The lack of accurate and consistent speed recordings prior to the late 90's leaves a lot of room for exaggeration when talking up the likes of Marshall or Lillee.

  • Matt H on May 18, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    The comment re Malcolm Marshall and bowlers of his era is not correct. The WI bowlers especially played nearly all year round in county cricket and their own domestic comps. Similarly in Oz the bowlers actually played some Sheffield Sheild. So I suspect the workload is not as different as people make out, except for the travel, which may be a big factor. Other than that I am stumped as to why the injuries are so commonplace these days. But are we overstating it? I remember both Lillee and Thomson being out for months and momths in the 70's

  • mican on May 18, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Hmmm. I think this article proves the old cliche that Americans are ignorant of cricket. The reason Lee and Tait haven't played the bulk of Australia's test matches is that both were bowling too poorly to warrant selection. Akhtar missed many games because of suspensions and internal politicking than injury. Nothing to do with their bodies being unable to stand the strains of the modern game. Genuine lack of quality and team disharmony are the reasons they've played so few tests.

  • manish kumar joshi on May 17, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    issue raised in this article is true some extent but given argumenta not matched with the subject as every one knwos lasit malinga's retirement is cause of attitude towards him by slankan's national selectors while injury is a pretend to hide the real things. Test match is genuine form of the cricket where a bowlers have plenty of approtunity to manage their energy while shortest form of cricket is more responsible for the injuries. If one want to have long career one has to leave up the attractions of league.

  • Raza on May 17, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Where is Amir and Asif in this article ?

  • S K on May 17, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    I agree to the article but would like to conclude that the breed of fast bowlers is quickly reducing.Pitches should be made atleast fastish so that people take to fast bowling.Making dead pitches won't help the cause.Boards are trying to increase revenue by making pitches batsmen friendly so that people can see 6's & 4's raining.Which is ruining the games ,the most bespecticled art of bowling.We hardly find bowlers cartwheeling the stumps or breaking the stumps which is an immense pleasurable scene.So steps should be taken to restore the breed of fast bowling people by making fast & bouncy pitches.

  • Marcos on May 17, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    Along with fast bowlers are real cricket lovers dying? New devotees to cricket are being drawn to a game that is rich in razzle dazzle but lacking in application. Rarely do we see chalenging wickets where the batsman may need more than a good eye and a heavy bat. When we do have challenging wickets there is uproar. I enjoyed the days when a fast bowler would run in with 4 slips and 2 gullies with a red ball. Authorities around the world seem to be obsessed with the dollar generally to the detriment of test cricket. They focus so intently on the shorter forms of the game that the true cricket lover has little to appreciate and the potential new cricket lovers are convinced that watching a batsman score 36 runs off 18 balls on a flat pitch with no slips on tiny roped off grounds is as good as it gets. Bring back challenging pitches, bring back 5 match test series, limit the number of limited overs games how about quality rather than quantity. Fast bowlers will be back and cricket lovers

  • JRH on May 17, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    Ryan Harris? Quality bowler who swings + seams the ball and clocks 150kph on a regular basis, unfortunately nearing the wrong end of his career and has apparently always been prone to injury.

  • Cene on May 17, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    It is also to do with technology and the improvements in techniques of the batsman and the high level of protection available to the batsman.Batsmen like Mahela, Sachin, Sanga are clever at using the pace of the bowler. Various guards available to the batsman allow them to charge at these bowlers without fear of being hit. In the past era batsmen were made to shiver by sensational bowling only because they were afraid of being hit. So fast bowlers nowadays are not looking for pace but for line and length together with accuracy. Look at Malinga and Tait. Malinga is not as fast as Tait but he is certainly dangerous than Tait mainly because of his line and length. Those days when a player was knocked done by a fierce bouncer or yorked by a fast delievery the crowd apprecited and applauded.But now even if an edge carry the bowl to the fence the crowd erupts applauding the btsman which demoralise the bowler. This era only wants fearsome batting not fearsome bowling.

  • a pakistani on May 17, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    There's lots of argument about genuine pace and variations. I think when we come to that, Shoaib Akhtar was the best fiery pace bowler, who was wily enough to use variations, like his lovely "slower ball". He wasn't the typical pacer who would bowl the maximum allotment of bouncers and then use the outside off line for his remaining bowls. When it comes to a merging of all talents, Shoaib was head and shoulders above the likes of Tait. I guess the next best were Lee and Bond.

  • Jonesy on May 17, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    Im sorry but this is a stupid article. i mean mitchell johnson has had hardly any injuries, touch wood. and all this stuff about too much cricket, i mean cmon! these guys are pros who are paid hundreds of thousands and have access to any service and are given everything they need to play for prolonged periods at the highest level of intensity. the issue is neglegence and whats more, nobody is forcing them to play the full schedule, and most of them dont, they are managed well be their coaches etc. they are possible over-trained and burnout may be playing a part but im not in the postition to comment about that because i dont know exectly what they are all doing. there is more to it than just the obvious figures and facts.

  • Rivi on May 17, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    pace isn't everything you know. i remember lasith malinga clocking 150+ on tour in new zealand. but he was hardly effective barring a few moments of brilliance; he predominantly bowled two lengths: short and full/yorker length. but ever since recovering from a career-threatening knee injury in (2008), he has stuck to bowling well within himself (around 143ks on average). his line and length have improved drastically, and results have followed. shaun tait-who bowls a good 5-10 ks faster- is another great example. just the other night he got hammered for 19 in his opening over by the kochi openers(IPL). as far as dale steyn is concerned, i think he focuses more on moving the (new)ball in the early stages of an innings. hence the moderate speed gun readings. but if you look at his bowling at the death of an innings, he bowls much quicker and bowls wicket to wicket. @ the ppl above who argue that steyn is merely a medium fast bowler LMAO! :D

  • Anonymous on May 16, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    GLEN MCGRATH FTW!!!

  • Anand Desai on May 16, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    also i feel whats the point o having fastbowlers like shaun tait who i remebered got hammered even on perth wicket where likes of RP Singh and Ishant sharma did well in that test match...i still feel its the medium fast & accurate bowler of Dale steyn,MCgrath, Srinath, Zaheer, Waqar,Wasim,Gillespie are more reliable in etst cricket...so instead of all talks of fast bowlers why not talk about quality of bowling than only pace...at the end of the day it is the smart/ skill full fast bowlers who are going to win you more matches...

  • Anand Desai on May 16, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    Hi - may be but still there are many good fast bowlers around..instead of talking only about pace why not try to provide more pace/ seam friendly wickets (30%) ....its an even game then...the reason it is batsman friendly game is bowlers get six opportunties in an over to comeback but batsman if does one mistake he is out...so the ratio of mistake is 1 is to 6 ...

  • sridhar on May 16, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    What about Ambrose ?

  • Ron on May 16, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    I dont think fast bowling is becoming a dodo. I also dont think that only over dose of all forms of cricket is the only reason for reduced number of fast bowlers. If we prepare fast tracks, let the batsman jump for pace, we will have fast bowlers by the dozens. If there are 2 Dale's in each team excessive cricket wont matter. Only problem is pitches all over the world are becoming flat and at best spinner friendly.

  • Faridoon on May 16, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    M Aamer might have made this list, had he not gone sight seeing with Salman Butt.

    Tear away fast bowlers are becoming very rare. Even from the usually fertile Pakistani stable I see no one on the horizon that fits the shows the kind of raw pace the Akhtar had when he burst onto the scene. It is a batsmans game now and the powers that be wouldnt mind if a bowling machine replaced the bowler as long 300 runs were being scored every innings.

  • Anonymous on May 16, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Jacques Kallis is another who plays a lot of cricket but still survives for the next game/series even though he is not super fast. He performs in all formats of the game equally as well.

  • knowledge_eater on May 16, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    There are many fast bowlers in many countries, all they will need a little support from pitch, seaming pitches are the key. Give them pacy pitches, you will see lots of them popping up. Simple.

    Btw. Pace is overrated if you don't pitch it correctly. just an example, I would rather take Ravi Rampaul's 134s but can seam/zip in sharp, than Tait no-ballish pacy wild bouncer that goes over the keeper for 4.

  • Gilly on May 16, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    I'd put Bond on the list but due to injury we never saw the best of him - but I saw him bowling in a 20/20 in Wellington and he stayed up around 150-153 k/ph. This was only a 1or 2 km/ph behind Tait. Perhaps he could have also been handled better but NZ relied on him too much because he was our only genuine match winner in all conditions.

  • praxis on May 16, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    @ibrahim, I agree to almost everything you said except Steyn being a fast medium bowler. He bowls faster in test matches. I'm sure you have followed his performances in the last couple of years. But I would admit that Tait is lot faster that him, even Morkel's too. But its not only pace, Steyn's accuracy, variation in pace, skiddy bounce and outswing makes him the most exciting bowler to watch right now. And just look at his test average! If he can somehow manage this form for next 3-4 years, he'll become one of the greats for sure. Only pace will never be enough, remember Mohammad Sami?

  • Observer on May 15, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Medicine: Spice & juice up dead pitches around the world.. Restrict 20/20 & ODIs to reasonable numbers...Let cricketers rest enough and recuperate...these will directly impact quality of cricket and make for compelling viewing I swear...

  • wasil on May 14, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    and the rest of the best fast bowlers in the world are either banned/caught in doping scandals. this is straight coming from heart of a pakistani supporter.

  • IainS on May 14, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Many of the so-called 'fast bowlers' of the past were really just fast-medium bowlers too - the same as today's crop. People need to stop believing in these myths perpetuated by commentators whom hark back to their playing days with tales of terrifying lethally quick bowling on minefield wickets. It just makes for a better story.

    As for Dale Steyn, well, according to the various speed measurements from grounds around the world he really isn't any quicker than a Stuart Broad or Peter Siddle and numerous others.

  • Harvey on May 14, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    The reason Tait has played so few Test matches has nothing to do with the intensity of scheduling. It's to do with the fact that he's wasn't good enough to secure a regular place in the team.

  • Ace on May 14, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    You are spot on, sir. The most essential factor to preserving fast bowlers and most efficiently using them is sensibly handling them. Need to make sure the priority is to use them in the big matches first. Shoaib Akhtar annoyingly has had it the worst of the lot and it effected his career, I'd say the Australian cricket board has still done relatively well in handling Lee and Tait. South African board seems to be doing a great job with Steyn too.

  • Sarath Chandra on May 13, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Nothing brings out this fact better than by the time Kapil retired 9 out of top 10 wicket takers (tests) were fast/medium fast bowlers (LR Gibbs with 309 wickets used to be 9th, I think, on the list). Now the top 3 wicket takers are spinners. Harbhajan is 11th, and the next in line among active players is Vettori. People say, "A champion in one era will be a champion in any other era". This is one observation that absolutely disproves that theory.

  • Fantoos on May 13, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Steyn is going to be a true legend of the game... hope he plays for a long long time without any injury

  • Samik on May 13, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    I'd add Morne Morkel and to a lesser extent, Mitchell Johnson to that list.

  • Srini on May 13, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Not only too much cricket, flat pitches, improved protective gear for batsmen have also significantly contributed to the decline in true fast bowlers. With so many avenues (both domestic, national and international) to earn riches, no fast bowler would like to risk injury. A decent pace aimed at run containment is what most pace bowlers are aiming for these days to prolong their careers. I see this trend increasing in future.

  • Shavi on May 13, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Wahab Riaz deserves a mention as a genuince quick who plays tests.

  • ibrahim on May 13, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    tbh the only fast bowler in the world cricket is tait. steyn hardly ever hits 150....so to me he's a fast medium bowler....the only FAST bowler in world cricket is shaun tait...roach at times can be one....but looking at the amount of cricket being played these days...i really doubt that we are ever going to see another fast bowler....gone those days when a bowler would run through the top order with sheer pace....there was a time when there were 4 to 5 bowlers who could clock 155 when in good form...shoaib , lee , waqar , gillespe ,muhammad zahid,makhaya, donald ,bond,sami,flint off etc...i'd rather watch a test match between bangladesh and ireland than an ipl or a big bash match....2020 is killing fast bowlers...not helping them...the real cricket is test cricket...nd that is why even a fast medium bowler who clocks 145 hurries the batsmen.....there was a time when such bowlers were easily dealt with because the batsmen were used to that kind of pace.

  • Tushar on May 13, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    I completely agree with what you wrote in your article Mrinal, it is about time, that ICC stop thinking about money and show little concern towards organisation (in all).

    Finally, as an Indian cricket fan, I wish to see atleast one super fast bowler playing for India during this lifetime... :)

  • bring it on on May 13, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    M Morkel? Surely he's pretty close to being called a fast bowler. He's not as good as Steyn but he hasn't broken down recently. I'd put Johnson there expect he's bi-polar. To soon to class any of the Pakistani bowlers as genuine reliable fast bowlers.

  • D 206 on May 13, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    That slight abt genital warts is uncalled for .... but otherwise good article ... steyn is perhaps the last of the kind ... southee n wahab riaz may be added to the this generations fast men in some time.

  • Vivek on May 13, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Just an innocuous observation, why doesn't the ICC schedule a fixed number of tests every year; maybe two series consisting of three matches. Then they can cut down on the bilateral series. IF a team has already won three out of five matches in a series, why continue it when we already know who is the winner. As far as the IPL is concerned, let it be conducted once in every three years. So, in my book the ICC can have six tests and fifteen ODIs every year.

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  • Vivek on May 13, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Just an innocuous observation, why doesn't the ICC schedule a fixed number of tests every year; maybe two series consisting of three matches. Then they can cut down on the bilateral series. IF a team has already won three out of five matches in a series, why continue it when we already know who is the winner. As far as the IPL is concerned, let it be conducted once in every three years. So, in my book the ICC can have six tests and fifteen ODIs every year.

  • D 206 on May 13, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    That slight abt genital warts is uncalled for .... but otherwise good article ... steyn is perhaps the last of the kind ... southee n wahab riaz may be added to the this generations fast men in some time.

  • bring it on on May 13, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    M Morkel? Surely he's pretty close to being called a fast bowler. He's not as good as Steyn but he hasn't broken down recently. I'd put Johnson there expect he's bi-polar. To soon to class any of the Pakistani bowlers as genuine reliable fast bowlers.

  • Tushar on May 13, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    I completely agree with what you wrote in your article Mrinal, it is about time, that ICC stop thinking about money and show little concern towards organisation (in all).

    Finally, as an Indian cricket fan, I wish to see atleast one super fast bowler playing for India during this lifetime... :)

  • ibrahim on May 13, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    tbh the only fast bowler in the world cricket is tait. steyn hardly ever hits 150....so to me he's a fast medium bowler....the only FAST bowler in world cricket is shaun tait...roach at times can be one....but looking at the amount of cricket being played these days...i really doubt that we are ever going to see another fast bowler....gone those days when a bowler would run through the top order with sheer pace....there was a time when there were 4 to 5 bowlers who could clock 155 when in good form...shoaib , lee , waqar , gillespe ,muhammad zahid,makhaya, donald ,bond,sami,flint off etc...i'd rather watch a test match between bangladesh and ireland than an ipl or a big bash match....2020 is killing fast bowlers...not helping them...the real cricket is test cricket...nd that is why even a fast medium bowler who clocks 145 hurries the batsmen.....there was a time when such bowlers were easily dealt with because the batsmen were used to that kind of pace.

  • Shavi on May 13, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Wahab Riaz deserves a mention as a genuince quick who plays tests.

  • Srini on May 13, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Not only too much cricket, flat pitches, improved protective gear for batsmen have also significantly contributed to the decline in true fast bowlers. With so many avenues (both domestic, national and international) to earn riches, no fast bowler would like to risk injury. A decent pace aimed at run containment is what most pace bowlers are aiming for these days to prolong their careers. I see this trend increasing in future.

  • Samik on May 13, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    I'd add Morne Morkel and to a lesser extent, Mitchell Johnson to that list.

  • Fantoos on May 13, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Steyn is going to be a true legend of the game... hope he plays for a long long time without any injury

  • Sarath Chandra on May 13, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Nothing brings out this fact better than by the time Kapil retired 9 out of top 10 wicket takers (tests) were fast/medium fast bowlers (LR Gibbs with 309 wickets used to be 9th, I think, on the list). Now the top 3 wicket takers are spinners. Harbhajan is 11th, and the next in line among active players is Vettori. People say, "A champion in one era will be a champion in any other era". This is one observation that absolutely disproves that theory.