India news October 9, 2011

Indian bodies not designed to bowl fast - Zaheer

ESPNcricinfo staff

Zaheer Khan, the Indian seamer, has said fast bowling doesn't come naturally to Indians and recommended county cricket for the upcoming Indian fast bowlers to improve their skills.

"It's not a natural thing," Zaheer told Times of India. "Indian bodies are not designed to bowl fast but that said, it's not very different from bowling outside India. Basically you have to spend a lot of time understanding yourself, your art, and then find out what works for you and what doesn't. It also involves a lot of hard work."

When asked why several Indian fast bowlers drop significantly in pace while playing international cricket, Zaheer said: "It's about trying to adapt to the international level, where the room for error is less. You can't always do at the international level what you do at domestic level.

"You need to understand your bowling style and work on fitness that much more. The bottom line is as long you are able to produce results, it is fine. I also dropped pace, so basically it's important to know what works for you at the international level and put that into practice."

Zaheer had a successful stint with Worcestershire in 2006 and it helped him make a comeback to the national side after being dropped. Match practice, he said, was key to improving one's skill as a fast bowler. "The bottom line is match practice," he said. "Experience is something that is valued and you gain that by playing matches. No matter how hard you try at the nets, the match scenario is completely different.

"As for county cricket, their season is the off season in India, that's why I would recommend it, but again the bottom line is more matches, wherever you play."

India missed the services of Zaheer on the tour of England, where he was ruled out due to an injury. He picked up a hamstring injury on the first day of the first Test at Lord's, but he also had a right ankle impingement that required surgery, which he underwent recently. "I had an ankle surgery and all I can say at this point is that things are looking good," he said. "Progress has been slow but I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. I'm also not putting a timeline to my return. I did bowl from two steps today, and it felt really good.

"I wanted to play badly but what can one do. I was 100% fit when I landed in England and didn't rush my return in any way but picked up another injury. That's the way the game goes."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    How many Indians are really fast - in terms of bowling in excess of 140 kph, regularly? Not too many, I think. Varun Aaron, and Umesh Yadav who have made the Indian ODI squad are probably the fastest. Abu Nechim Ahmed, who turns out for Mumbai Indians is nippy, and close behind them. Sreesanth bowls in the mid 130s. The rest don't merit mention. There has been a hue and cry for the inclusion of Irfan Pathan. He was clobbered for 68 runs in 9 overs, in the last Challenger's match. Devoid of any movement, he barely touched the 120 kph mark. His performance was pathetic, to say the least. One can safely put him down to history. Praveen Kumar, India's best bowler on the England tour, clocks in the mid 120s, but makes up for his lack of speed with controlled movement, both ways.

  • George on October 12, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    We should highlight Javagal Srinath, he was the best fast bowler india had ever produced. He was consistent and carried a constant pace through out his career.

  • Jay on October 12, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Zaheer's observations sound right because India has not produced a genuine quick bowler in all these years. However, that does not mean someone will not appear in the scene as a fast bowler in the future. Let us hope that time is sooner than late as it is hard to watch military medium bowlers opening the bowling for India.

  • Dummy4 on October 11, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    i completely agreed with that...... thats why indian bowler become spine after 1 year later ... no one can throw above 140 kmph......... all are stuck b\w 120-130....

  • Anjana on October 11, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    This is a real unacceptable comment by Zaheer! I think the problem in India is batsman are much recognized than the bowlers. Kids are not encouraged to become bowlers who ball fast (real quick) but to become batsman who bat fast. In Pakistan and Sri Lanka the attitude towards fast bowling is different. Coaching system also has to be flexible that when a kid bowls faster with an unconventional action, minimum alterations should be done to his action in order to preserve his speed. None of Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep were playing with a leather ball until they were about 19years old. Coaches identified their talents and refined their talents with minimum alternation to their actions. India, having a much larger population, surely must be having fastest ever bowlers around. But unfortunately, some of these real fast guys may be manual laborers living in a slum in Kolkata or a rural village in Bihar. What India needs is a proper system to find these talents.

  • Ashok on October 10, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Zaheer has his own POV on the fast bowlers. However the fact is it is the Indian Selectors & BCCI who need to wake up and be less myopic.Many of the commenter have named U.Yadev. Aaron, Tyagi, Shukla, Nechin, Ahmad & others who are already in 90 MPH range. My suggestion is to classify fast (90MPH) & medium fast (80 MPH) class bowlers in India today." Mandate 2 fast + 1 medium fast" in Tests if 3 seamers are to play. Otherwise have 2 fast + 3 spinners, at least for Indian games. It is the job of the Selectors & BCCI to spend funds to bring all these fast bowlers up to Test class by funding the coaching camps with top class coaches. The same goes for the spinners as well as the batsmen.There is no point in BCCI showing a $39 Million profit when the Cricket game they are represnting has hit the rock bottom with whitewash in England. BCCI & the Selectors' first duty is to the game of Cricket.They really need to have defined job duties & be fully accountable for Indian team's performance.

  • P Subramani on October 10, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    I have noticed that not just the members of the England team, but their folowers get pompous when England starts doing well. The sad truth is that though this game was founded in England, they have seldom seen silver except in the last few years. I have always supported England wherever they have played. But I have been laughed at on most occasions. Now that England have started winning, and their players are act the roles of gracious victors I wish their comment makers would not cause them to be hated like the Australians.Cricket is all about continuity. I only wish that Yest cricket continues for England to bask in the glory they have gained after a very long time.

  • Lakmal on October 10, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Zaheer's statement is valid for few fast bowlers in the sub-continent.just check the cricinfo profile of Suranga Lakmal.It is mentioned that lakmal was suffering from malnutrition.u can't become a supersonic bowler while suffering from such body conditions.But the statement is not valid for the Indians.anyway, a good observation,and I would like to hear oneday commentators saying "here comes dr. Zaheer khan for his first spell"

  • Kuldeep on October 10, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    It makes me laugh with the debate of vegetarian diet, non-vegetarian diet and physical bodies to be a good fast bowler. Fast bowling does not have a lot to do with it. Any athlete representing his country at the top level has a responsibility to look after his diet and make sure he gets all the required nutritions for healthy living and to perform at optimal level. This applies to all sport not just cricket. These days you have dietician appointed a part of team so the players have no excuses for not knowing their diet. Fast bowling is more to do with having a big heart, persistent, consistency, aggression (not physical but your attitude when things are not going your way), willingness and fitness. Fitness and physical attributes are ingredients of becoming a fast bowler but they are not the only ingredients of being a fast bowler. Joel Garner was a giant fast bowler and on the other scale you had Malcolm Marshall not so tall. Still you would hate to face either of these two. Let's h

  • P Subramani on October 10, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    I agree entirely with Ramesh_ Joseph's comments There are indeed any number of youngsters who are in the fast bracket (above 140 kmph) but for some reasons are not given chances at the national level.The selectors are unwilling to try anyone other than the chosen few that Ramesh mentions.The ease with which Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav and Abu Nechim bowl above 90 mph would show that their bodies can comfortably take the stress of bowling fast.They just have to have more variations for the statistical success that then comes to be noticed by the selectors who seem entirely chair bound.I make this remark based on the selection of one Yaju Krishantry from Jharkhand for the current India Blue in the Challengers series that is presently on.He has played just 2 matches with nothing exceptional to suggest that he is a prodigy.I put this kind of rubbish in selection only to there being zonal representatives.The BCCI should immediately move on to having a 3 member non zonal selection committee.

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