India news August 26, 2011

Ghavri asks for longer camps at bowling academy

ESPNcricinfo staff

Karsan Ghavri, the former India allrounder who currently heads the BCCI's bowling academy in Mohali, has said bowling camps need to be longer if players are to develop through the academies. Around 120 bowlers have come through the Mohali-based academy, with state associations sending players in the age group of 17-19 years. But Ghavri said the quality of youngsters coming to the camp was not always up to the mark, and he was yet to see a fast bowler who could bowl at 140kph.

"Out of the 120 boys we have trained so far, we have shortlisted around 15 boys who are good and some of them bowl at 135kph in the nets," he said. "But I haven't seen a fast bowler touching 140kph still.

"Most of the boys either have a faulty run-up or fail to adjust their body balance. We try to correct them as much as we can but three weeks is not enough. Each camp should be of, at least, five to six weeks to allow us to fine-tune their skills. Then we can accommodate more matches to check on their match fitness and introduce more modern drills for a lengthier period."

India's bowling reserves have come under the scanner after they failed to recover from the loss of Zaheer Khan in their 0-4 Test series loss in England. Ghavri said the BCCI needed to take more responsibility, firstly in identifying talent, and then nurturing it. "The BCCI must urge the state units to ensure they identify true talent and send them here for training. There's no point working on bowlers who don't have it in them to make it big. We also expect the Board to communicate, come and see how things are being run here. More accountability is required from the BCCI.

"The boys come to the academy only for three weeks, but what happens after that? They have to be looked after in the future and the BCCI should play a larger role here."

Another thing Ghavri said was long overdue in India was the introduction of faster pitches to hone seamers. "It is not that India cannot produce a fast bowler or that India cannot produce a fast wicket. Both things are possible and are dependent on each other.

"We don't have great spinners in our national team now. We have reasonably good medium-fast bowlers and there are some more coming up. So, to encourage them, we need to make fast tracks. It's important now that India start playing their domestic matches on hard grassy wickets."

Another thing called into question during the England series was the fitness of India's bowling attack that bowled England out just once during the four Tests. Former India fast bowlers Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad both said the solution was for India's quicks to bowl more in first-class cricket. "Fast bowlers need to keep bowling, whether it is in first-class or Test cricket. There's no point in resting them exceedingly," Prasad told Mid-Day. "The key is to remain fit, keep bowling, and keep up that urge."

Srinath said there was quality among India's current crop of fast bowlers but they needed to play the longer formats, preferably abroad, as opposed to Twenty20 cricket in India. "Guys like Sreesanth and Ishant [Sharma] need to bowl at least 1200 overs a year, with at least 500 or 600 of them in county cricket in England, or in Australia or other first-class matches. Both are quality bowlers and there's no reason to believe they are not as good as the English bowlers. They just need to keep bowling which is the only way to play at the highest level for 10-12 years. England ensure that even their senior bowlers go back and play county cricket between Tests. Our bowlers need to embrace that culture.

"There's no point playing ODIs and IPL, and then going on a Test tour to England. It's unfair to blame the bowlers alone."