September 9, 2011

Find bowlers, find success

India have a pair of replacement openers in Rahane and Parthiv. Now what they need are some talented bowlers, world-class mentors, and a review, followed by corrective action
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Summer has left England. Like many visitors who come here, it was on a short stay. And so the t-shirts are being replaced by heavy cardigans and pullovers, and cheery folk who sat on sidewalks with beer or coffee now dart indoors. When the sun goes, it takes the smile with it. Now the chilly breeze blows, the harbinger of a winter that will shorten days and expand gloom. And the sky, like a salesman on hard times, wears the same grey suit every day. Is it a coincidence that talk of a recession is back?

It was meant to be an Indian summer, this. Long days; stylish, wristy batsmen, with clean pads and sleeves rolled down, overcoming tall bowlers who hit the deck and swing the ball. It was meant to be Federer v Nadal over 20 days of Test cricket. But like many cookbooks, where the photographs are more promising than the recipes, the build-up was more exciting than the action. It went downhill very quickly, a banquet that never progressed beyond the starters. And now, while the dessert menu is still being offered, everyone is fidgeting with the car keys. Ah, the Indian summer! Neither word appropriately describes the last two months.

And yet, for those who don't always get their place in the sun, anything will do. Opportunity knocks on their door but rarely, and now, with the most calamitous sequence of injuries befalling India, they see hope in the encircling gloom. Certainly the scratch opening pair has caught the eye, and while Patel and Rahane doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Tendulkar and Dravid, or Sehwag and Gambhir, they bring a little sense of anticipation to the die-hard supporters.

From a boy who held the fort valiantly but whose main scoring stroke was a dab on the off side, Parthiv Patel has blossomed. Mistaking size for stature, England's bowlers peppered him with short-pitched bowling. With a smile here, a word there, and a rapier-like bat, he has played the pull shot as well as anybody; though it must be admitted that the wickets in the limited-overs games have looked like they are waiting for the summer to end too. Now if he can drive a bit like Sourav Ganguly (through the covers, that is, not on the highways), we might have an outsider coming in to take up a batting position. And, more important, someone who can allow MS Dhoni a break.

My colleague Alan Wilkins recently asked Ajinkya Rahane, "Where have you been all along?" It is a question many have posed. He has looked correct and compact, and has walked out like he belongs. And thankfully, he has opened the innings. Whoever makes him bat No. 3 again in the Ranji Trophy should be tried for sabotage. Like with Gautam Gambhir, he might do it occasionally for India, but his place is at the top. Now he must knock on Sunil Gavaskar's door, pester him, ask if he can sit at his feet, for no one in India understands facing the new ball better.

In fact it is an old fantasy of mine that the best young batsmen in India go away on an excursion with Gavaskar to a small town that has but a hotel, a couple of practice pitches and no media. For six days they only practise batting and talk about it over long, lazy dinners. Then the best six bowlers go there with Kapil Dev, leave his golf clubs behind in the cab, and talk and bowl, talk and bowl. For I don't see talent being a problem in India, merely its refinement. Gavaskar sits in a commentary box these days and Kapil has many business interests, but what they know about their profession, the work ethic and the hours it demands, must be transmitted. And they will enjoy it. My father was a teacher and I could see how excited he was by a bright pupil.

Maybe this will emerge from a post-mortem, for one is needed. The essence of a postmortem like this will lie in intent and, thereafter, action. If there is no action, only a report, it will end up being a bit like a discussion on a famine over a fancy dinner. Surely three people can put together a plan to find bowlers in India, for I am convinced they exist. It is a question of finding and nurturing them. If you run a steel plant and start running short of iron ore, you find iron ore, don't you?

And the post-mortem must address the issue of the IPL. The IPL is not a problem in itself; it is what comes before and after. It is not a filler for an interval, it needs an interval after it. In the next two weeks the BCCI will have a new president and soon the IPL will have a new commissioner. If they can put the visiting cards and letterheads aside and get down to work on the real issues, we might even have an Indian summer in 2014, when five Tests are played.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jay57870 on September 12, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    (Contd) Only time will tell. Actually, India's lucky to have a pool of young promising talent, both batsmen & bowlers. Plan on a select few to emerge as breakthrough players. But they need to capitalise and break out soon. Like Ganguly & Dravid did in 1996. And Zaheer & Bhajji later. 3) Most important, the bowling is definitely the team's Achilles' heel: It needs to be strengthened. Go with 5 bonafide bowlers, including 2 spinners. Entrust Kumble & NCA with the vital task of scouting/player development. Call it "Cricket U"! Yes, invite Kapil as ("emeritus") teacher-mentor for bowler/all-rounder development. Likewise Sunny for batting. 4) Compress IPL window to 3-4 weeks. It can be done. Look at MLB: 30 teams, each plays 162 regular-season games over 6 months, a game almost daily. Final word: the Sun rises in the East. Soon they will head home. Look forward to the warm weather, though the Desi summer is over. Rest assured, a healthy Team India will be ready for the next challenge.

  • jay57870 on September 12, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    Harsha -- "Indian summer" - by one official definition - is a meteorological phenomenon: a period of above-normal warm, dry weather occurring in the U.S./Canada in late autumn/early winter. Its brief & fickle nature often means it's a "false summer." Sadly, that's what Team India has weathered on this English tour. Importantly, it's exposed a few ground realities: 1) The elite senior players are still the weather-tested bedrock - Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer & Harbhajan. And cool Dhoni. There's nothing much the hapless skipper can do without his experienced crew. 2) Yes, openers like Rahane & Parthiv have shown good ability. But so have other youngsters - like Raina, Kohli, Vijay, Pujara, etc - been given chances to claim top-order spots. Yet, no one's grabbed it as a regular. Parthiv is a "recalled" player - started in 2002 at age 17, has played 20 Tests. Rahane is an "accidental" opener - an emergency replacement for injured seniors. So where do we stand? (TBC)

  • Rumy1 on September 11, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Promising batsmen and bowlers spending time over lazy dinners with Gavaskar and Kapil in a small town with no media appears to be a great idea. Kapil may do it but Gavaskar is a ?. You and others are talking pretty highly of Ajinkya and Ashwin. Forming opinion over performances over three innings for Rahane is a bit premature. Same is the case with Ashwin. Rahane might prove to be good for shorter version - T20s / ODIs but he doesn't seem to have the technique and skills for Tests. Jaffer is a far batter bat than Rahane.Ashwin with some doosra and carrom balls in his armoury and helpful tracks may prove to be handy in ODIs / T20s but he is certainly not a Test level bowler. I don't think Ashwin is there yet. Likes of Cook, Bell, Ponting, Clarke, Kallis, Amla, DeVilliers, Mahela, Sanga will quickly sort him out.Equating him with Kumble would also not be right as Kumble was a gifted one. However, with Srikkanth at helms of selection,Ashwin might be pushed into Test team sooner than later

  • Nampally on September 10, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    "Find Bowlers, Find Success"!. Yes true. But which bowlers are you talking about?. This article is mostly about the opening batsmen who replaced Sehwag & Tendulkar in the present India B Team. England had so much trouble with this new pair. I wonder what the England pace bowlers would have done against the regular opener. Sehwag in full cry would have creamed the England pace attack. I think India should have included ojha, Rahul Sharma in the spin for the ODI's. Rahul with fast, accurate & bouncy leg breaks would have been handful. Ojha is more accurate than Jadeja, who caused so many problems to the English batsmen in the third ODI. Furthermore England is weak against leg spinners. So India missed this chance.Aeron should at least have been tried instead of serving drinks. Parthiv should have been WK & Dhoni fielding.Even with the present team India can do better with slight tinkering. Talent is there but never used properly - Proper selection committee is crucial for this.

  • slip_catcher on September 10, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    The title is spot on this time. But Harsha, I must say that the article and title do not match. Anyways it is good to see that you are not only quashing the BCCI this time. BCCI may be at fault, but talent in players is much more important than that. See Australia's methods not working after McGrath and Warne. See West Indies falling after their good players gone. Methods are only secondary. See IITs and IIMs. They are what they are because of the talent that goes there. Their methods and infrastructure are not the best in the world obviously.

  • annys on September 10, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    sreenath Arvind -------------------

    wickets in ipl2011 - 21 strike rate in ipl2011- 13.1 econrate in ipl2011 -8.0

    this says few things: Arvind has a strike rate better than malinga,aswin and bollinger in ipl2011 zaheer's presence with a young indian bowler is priceless Indian selectors are not fair,Arvind has taken 68 wickets in 20 first class matches in the flat wickets of India Arvind was picked for India emerging players but didnt get a single match and varun aaron,unadkat,vinaykumar,umesh yadav get matches ahead of him.

    i think the selectors should go with Arvind,unadkat,varun,umesh,aswin,amit for home series against England

  • on September 10, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    I think india's pitches n conditions were the main reason behind the lack of quality fast bowlers for india who can bowl above 90mph.We have only mohali as a pitch which assists pace bowling.Most of the tracks in india are still belters n they always give nightmares to our bowlers.It is the time for BCCI to think about the changes needed in playing conditions in india keeping in mind 2015 cricket worldcup to be hosted by oz n nz.

  • MENDIS_Forever on September 10, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    It's unbelievable that India can't find out a good fast bowler out of 1 billion people.(OK.everyone are not interested in cricket)

  • Collegefastbowler on September 10, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    Pick a pair of good fast strike bowlers and give them ample opportunities, guidance and let them learn their skills. Currently Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav appear to fit the bill and they should be in the team.

  • stark-truth on September 10, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    This is indeed a testament to the Indian disaster itself - an unprecedented reality check, that out of the shambolic ruins of the tour has emerged a flicker of spark and light to kindle Harsha's hopes and that too from someone who has been at the periphery of the team and had nothing to do with the mauling received from English in the Test Series. Harsha should also come down like a ton of bricks on the IPL pantomime and circus which has made Indian cricket team a laughing stock of the world - so spectacular has been their humbling, and so meek has been their capitulation. That Tendulkar has now gone off citing a toe inflammation (contrast that to the Pak skipper who played on in a victorious WC campaign despite shoulder problems by taking cortison injections), in the wake of Tendulkar failing his billion fans so miserably - a huge quantum of fans which was looking forward to a decent display and all they got was a horrific display in spite of some lucky lbw escapes.

  • jay57870 on September 12, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    (Contd) Only time will tell. Actually, India's lucky to have a pool of young promising talent, both batsmen & bowlers. Plan on a select few to emerge as breakthrough players. But they need to capitalise and break out soon. Like Ganguly & Dravid did in 1996. And Zaheer & Bhajji later. 3) Most important, the bowling is definitely the team's Achilles' heel: It needs to be strengthened. Go with 5 bonafide bowlers, including 2 spinners. Entrust Kumble & NCA with the vital task of scouting/player development. Call it "Cricket U"! Yes, invite Kapil as ("emeritus") teacher-mentor for bowler/all-rounder development. Likewise Sunny for batting. 4) Compress IPL window to 3-4 weeks. It can be done. Look at MLB: 30 teams, each plays 162 regular-season games over 6 months, a game almost daily. Final word: the Sun rises in the East. Soon they will head home. Look forward to the warm weather, though the Desi summer is over. Rest assured, a healthy Team India will be ready for the next challenge.

  • jay57870 on September 12, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    Harsha -- "Indian summer" - by one official definition - is a meteorological phenomenon: a period of above-normal warm, dry weather occurring in the U.S./Canada in late autumn/early winter. Its brief & fickle nature often means it's a "false summer." Sadly, that's what Team India has weathered on this English tour. Importantly, it's exposed a few ground realities: 1) The elite senior players are still the weather-tested bedrock - Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer & Harbhajan. And cool Dhoni. There's nothing much the hapless skipper can do without his experienced crew. 2) Yes, openers like Rahane & Parthiv have shown good ability. But so have other youngsters - like Raina, Kohli, Vijay, Pujara, etc - been given chances to claim top-order spots. Yet, no one's grabbed it as a regular. Parthiv is a "recalled" player - started in 2002 at age 17, has played 20 Tests. Rahane is an "accidental" opener - an emergency replacement for injured seniors. So where do we stand? (TBC)

  • Rumy1 on September 11, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Promising batsmen and bowlers spending time over lazy dinners with Gavaskar and Kapil in a small town with no media appears to be a great idea. Kapil may do it but Gavaskar is a ?. You and others are talking pretty highly of Ajinkya and Ashwin. Forming opinion over performances over three innings for Rahane is a bit premature. Same is the case with Ashwin. Rahane might prove to be good for shorter version - T20s / ODIs but he doesn't seem to have the technique and skills for Tests. Jaffer is a far batter bat than Rahane.Ashwin with some doosra and carrom balls in his armoury and helpful tracks may prove to be handy in ODIs / T20s but he is certainly not a Test level bowler. I don't think Ashwin is there yet. Likes of Cook, Bell, Ponting, Clarke, Kallis, Amla, DeVilliers, Mahela, Sanga will quickly sort him out.Equating him with Kumble would also not be right as Kumble was a gifted one. However, with Srikkanth at helms of selection,Ashwin might be pushed into Test team sooner than later

  • Nampally on September 10, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    "Find Bowlers, Find Success"!. Yes true. But which bowlers are you talking about?. This article is mostly about the opening batsmen who replaced Sehwag & Tendulkar in the present India B Team. England had so much trouble with this new pair. I wonder what the England pace bowlers would have done against the regular opener. Sehwag in full cry would have creamed the England pace attack. I think India should have included ojha, Rahul Sharma in the spin for the ODI's. Rahul with fast, accurate & bouncy leg breaks would have been handful. Ojha is more accurate than Jadeja, who caused so many problems to the English batsmen in the third ODI. Furthermore England is weak against leg spinners. So India missed this chance.Aeron should at least have been tried instead of serving drinks. Parthiv should have been WK & Dhoni fielding.Even with the present team India can do better with slight tinkering. Talent is there but never used properly - Proper selection committee is crucial for this.

  • slip_catcher on September 10, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    The title is spot on this time. But Harsha, I must say that the article and title do not match. Anyways it is good to see that you are not only quashing the BCCI this time. BCCI may be at fault, but talent in players is much more important than that. See Australia's methods not working after McGrath and Warne. See West Indies falling after their good players gone. Methods are only secondary. See IITs and IIMs. They are what they are because of the talent that goes there. Their methods and infrastructure are not the best in the world obviously.

  • annys on September 10, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    sreenath Arvind -------------------

    wickets in ipl2011 - 21 strike rate in ipl2011- 13.1 econrate in ipl2011 -8.0

    this says few things: Arvind has a strike rate better than malinga,aswin and bollinger in ipl2011 zaheer's presence with a young indian bowler is priceless Indian selectors are not fair,Arvind has taken 68 wickets in 20 first class matches in the flat wickets of India Arvind was picked for India emerging players but didnt get a single match and varun aaron,unadkat,vinaykumar,umesh yadav get matches ahead of him.

    i think the selectors should go with Arvind,unadkat,varun,umesh,aswin,amit for home series against England

  • on September 10, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    I think india's pitches n conditions were the main reason behind the lack of quality fast bowlers for india who can bowl above 90mph.We have only mohali as a pitch which assists pace bowling.Most of the tracks in india are still belters n they always give nightmares to our bowlers.It is the time for BCCI to think about the changes needed in playing conditions in india keeping in mind 2015 cricket worldcup to be hosted by oz n nz.

  • MENDIS_Forever on September 10, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    It's unbelievable that India can't find out a good fast bowler out of 1 billion people.(OK.everyone are not interested in cricket)

  • Collegefastbowler on September 10, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    Pick a pair of good fast strike bowlers and give them ample opportunities, guidance and let them learn their skills. Currently Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav appear to fit the bill and they should be in the team.

  • stark-truth on September 10, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    This is indeed a testament to the Indian disaster itself - an unprecedented reality check, that out of the shambolic ruins of the tour has emerged a flicker of spark and light to kindle Harsha's hopes and that too from someone who has been at the periphery of the team and had nothing to do with the mauling received from English in the Test Series. Harsha should also come down like a ton of bricks on the IPL pantomime and circus which has made Indian cricket team a laughing stock of the world - so spectacular has been their humbling, and so meek has been their capitulation. That Tendulkar has now gone off citing a toe inflammation (contrast that to the Pak skipper who played on in a victorious WC campaign despite shoulder problems by taking cortison injections), in the wake of Tendulkar failing his billion fans so miserably - a huge quantum of fans which was looking forward to a decent display and all they got was a horrific display in spite of some lucky lbw escapes.

  • Kumar_cricket on September 10, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    Even in IPL, every teams strike bowler is forgein player may be with few exceptions (DC has Ishant Sharmaand RCB has Zaheer Khan) .Tha tells the story of Indian Fast Bowling

  • demon_bowler on September 10, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    What a delightfully well written piece this is! Harsha Bhogle has a literary flair that stands out among the depressingly cliché-ridden, pedestrian fare served up by so many sports writers.

  • aus_sore_losers on September 10, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Harsha Bhogale=University of excellence in Cricket, mind boggling thesaurus, thorough analyst, one of the best commentator, strong willed honest character person. Salute to you Sir!!! always a pleasure reading your articles..

  • Noboundary on September 10, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Extremely well said Harsha. The piece about Gavaskar and Kapil was the best! I consider these two to be the best India has produced in Cricket. Gavaskar was a revelation a: he showed that with technique and concentration you can face up to the most lethal fast bowlers and dominate them even though there were not even medium pacers in India at that time. Kapil was a great inspiration to Indian cricket: he was the first person who changed the way Indians batted and bowled..he attacked with both the ball and bat. No one has bowled like him.. day after day...30-35 overs at a stretch. For many years he was our only bowler! Our present generation of fast bowlers cannot field, cannot bowl more than 4 over spells and cannot help breaking down after every 1-2 tests! Honestly all batting prospects should go to Gavaskar and all fast bowling prospects should go to Kapil to refine their skills.

  • Evilpengwinz on September 9, 2011, 21:41 GMT

    From what I've seen, Rahane looks a good player and I can't see why he wasn't playing against us in the test matches - He would've been a lot better than Sehwag! I also think that Indian supporters on here have been very quick to write off Mukund. Yes, he didn't get many scores, but he was no worse than the other batsmen on tour, and at least he looked like he wanted to try and bat for a long time, unlike Sehwag who forgot that he wasn't playing on a road in the subcontinent where he could just slog everything.

    As for bowling, I think everyone in England has fallen in love with Praveen Kumar! He also bowled very well considering he had no support. Sharma bowled some good spells, and most of the time I was wondering how Sreesanth got into Test Cricket, or even First Class cricket, for that matter. I'd take out Sreesanth and give someone like Varun Aaron a go. At least with his pace, he'd scare the batsman more than Sreesanth and his superstitions.

  • zico123 on September 9, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    simple solution....cut down pay scale in IPL, cut down IPL to 2 week event. then everything will slowly fall back in place.

  • on September 9, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    Harsha sorry to say our commentators hardly follow our domestic cricket to suggest anything about who should be our next stars. Gavaskar admitted on Television the other day that he had never seen Rahane bat even though he comes from the same state as him. That says a lot about the knowledge you guys have. Compare yourself with English commentators and they add so much more value in terms of the players because they follow their county cricket so much more than any of you guys do. Please follow our domestic cricket and don't just harp on names like Varun Aaron who have only played a single season of domestic cricket. Characters and fitness aren't built in one season unless that lad has performed beyond everyone's expectations which he hasn't by the way. There are bowlers who toiled very hard like Pankaj Singh and these are the guys who rarely find their name mentioned.

  • stark-truth on September 9, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Yah....a refreshing read indeed. Parthiv Patel has blossomed too - today after getting Dravid run-out, he got truly bamboozled by andersen..

  • on September 9, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    Like d way, Harsha praise abt Rahane... He shud b in d side lot b4 Vijay 4 whom selectors invest so many matches but all in vain!!!In case of Bowler India need fast bowlers i mean real fast bowlers n like Harsha i also bliv dey exist in India prime ex. of dat is Varun Aaron but they hav 2 nurture well.To get success in Test India badly need real fast bowlers,a replacement of Zak.

  • on September 9, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    have read opinions of many on india's poor performance in this england tour,and remedies they suggest;but definitely none so engrossing than this harsha bhogle special.......here is another harsha-classic....sports-literature at its very best....

  • rsurya on September 9, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    Having Vinaykumar, Sreesanth and Ishanth sharma in our team why we are still saying our bowling is not good.....????

  • annys on September 9, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Good article Harsha:), i really feel gavaskar,shastri,kapil,amarnath,prasanna,saurav,kumble,srinath,binny viswanath,laxman siva,azhar,vengsarkar can give back a lot to Indian Cricket. we need a cricket director and a goal. The goal should be to dominate cricket and be no 1 in all forms. If lalit modi could create Ipl, ambani could create reliance, these men surely can create a world beating team and like you said the raw material is 100 no 1000% sure present in India, i hope BCCI does something about this soon else it will loose its biggest asset THE INDIAN CRICKET FANS

  • czzling on September 9, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Indian sports are still in the dark-ages. I was just listening to Garry kasparov(greatest chess player) interview on learning from Mistakes. He says," when you win" you get complacent and stop looking for new ideas in chess and your opponents start analyzing your mistakes and come up with better play". I am absolutely sure this is the reason why Aussies were champions for so long. They could analyze the situations...they used to send young players for sub-continent experience etc. Yuvraj singh never goes to England after his 1 season failure there. No one knows the mystery behind Bajji's failure until a cricinfo article by prassana. I wonder if prassanas n gavaskars n kapildev's could send the message before it reaches cricinfo's readers...! And i am excited to see Rahane ,parthiv..but dying to see a bowler like Mcgrath or Donald who could rip open the English batting line up which was made to seem stronger than they are. Where is the Ishanth of Australia series?

  • getsetgopk on September 9, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    five tests means what? let me guess 5-0 England, again? lol

  • moko58 on September 9, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Yes the team needs mentors at all levels. If they make the same mistakes over and over , one wonders if anybody notices them at all.

  • on September 9, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    An ABSOLUTE JOY reading this!!!.. Wow! .. Probably the MOST POIGNANT article ever!!!

  • on September 9, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    india aremost talentet country,but any mistakes our dreams are not get fully sucessesed.this article off bhogle sir is is important to bcci. for findingproduced fast bowlers as compaire to aus, england, s africa,pakistan.......they need to change theire domestic cricket.make pitches in favour of fast bowling. AUSTRALIA ----Brett lee,shaun tait,mitchel johnson,macgrath............. ENGLAND----anderson,flintoff, broad ,harmison...... s africa ---steyn, morkel,pollock ,ntini PAK -------akhtar,asif, akram, gul,............ s lanka ----malinga,vass. india--- ????????? kapil dev ,srinath zaheer are talented bowlers...but speed of this is -ve pont of our as compaired to others. dont worry indian talent ia gret over the world. the fast attack are coming soon after 4-5 years.

  • Bilal_Choudry on September 9, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    India gets these quick bowlers young and turn them into medium in a couple of seasons ... first thing india should do is to get rid of Srinath and Prasad ... i saw one interview where Srinath was all praise for Munaf for dropping pace for line length... u need people who want to knock the helmet off someone... secondly T20 should be good for tearaway quicks since they can afford to go all out .. look at aussies they play all quicks in T20s

  • mks77 on September 9, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Harsha, 1. too much adulation / talk even before you have a player who has arrived. Let Rahane play and prove himself over a longer period and in longer format before we talk so much abt him. I love the way he has batted but we have seen him for 3-4 matches only. 2. Sitting at Gavaskar's feet Over the top, Gavaskar no doubt great batsman but typically once we have a good player into the team, first thing coach does is starts changing his style/technique etc - let him play. Do not over coach - let me work with his coach Praveen Amre, who has worked on him before national team. Otherwise, before you know you there will be Gavaskar, Shastri, Arun Lal, and every single opener india has produced guiding him on technique. He will become another Pathan.

  • Shivh on September 9, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    What an article! Loved reading it all the way. I wonder, if we, all Indians, should also take little blame for the shortage of fast bowlers. I don't see the mentality here where a bowler like,take Shaun Tait for example, is given full support of bowling fast(super fast). I am not sure, if he was born here not in Aus, he would have been the same bowler coming at the batsmen not worrying about the line and length,still very effective. Having said that, now the mentality is changing slowly. Hope, something comes out good soon. I feel that it would be a great if Kapil dev with some one from outside too(I know that MRF pace academy is there but still) is given a go to find and nurture a talent as suggested by Harsha.

  • justk on September 9, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    surprisingly, but for all the correct reasons, it took so much time to understand the problem that why india were a poor traveller and what was the thing which would not allow them to dominate..ian chappell earlier had said this thing, but at that time, everyone trashed him..but now happy that at least, fast bowlers in india are getting respected which they should have been..but in india, cricket is only batting..may be, because of mindset of parents also..as batting is easy to be spotted..atleast, kids will get some job to feed off ..but i feel that bowlers should be given more respect..especially fast bowlers as they win matches..and media also used to report wrong earlier..indian batting failed..it is not indian batting which had failed..it was the immaculate bowlilng which trashed the batting line up..but i am happy that now at least people in india have started to understand cricket..that bowlers and catches win matches..not batsman

  • Leggie on September 9, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Rightly summed up. While IPL is not a huge problem by itself, its a pity that we use IPL as the breeding ground for budding bowlers & batsmen. There has to be some fine-tuning that has to take place in the IPL on three fronts. 1) If India is serious about unearthing fast bowlers, the pitches for IPL must aid something in it for the fast bowlers. What we saw after IPLv3 was a tired & fatigued - physically & mentally - group of fast bowlers. The successful fast bowlers were the ones who bowled the best slower ones. This surely is an anomaly that needs immediate attention. 2) IPL should not be played in the months of March/April when the temperatures reach 40 Deg+ during the day. The effect of playing through these tough months literally drains the cricketers. 3) Limit the number of matches. The format is too long & after-match IPL parties must be stopped. There is certainly no dearth of talent in India, and making minor adjustments to the "launchpad" IPL should help India get back to #1.

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    As Harsha had said earlier,'its not only about finding talent but also nurturing it'. So a "super fast" bowler will be accustomed to injuries if u will make him play so many matches. I really think the format of IPL should be shortened or it must be held every 2 or 3 years or so. Also India's test bowlers should be discouraged from playing such tournaments and must be given some rest for as long as possible. By only taking such drastic measures, there will be hope for future of test cricket in India.

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    In the history of Indian Cricket we have never seen a Genuine Fast Bowler (who can bowl 145-150 kmph consistently) after Kapil Dev. It is hard to believe that Indians couldn't produce genuine fast bowlers where as Pakistan does that time and again. If there are no emerging Fast Bowlers in India, why couldn't we start from the scratch by nurturing the young talents. Nothing is impossible for the Board if it makes right move in its structure for producing Fast Bowlers.

  • Phase_swinG on September 9, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Its a great article if it has the title of Batting leads to success. Harsha, like everyone else, you missed to justify the meaning of phase bowling except for a small reference to Kapil Dev. Talent in Indian players is abundance but the system that recognizes it is entirely missing. Apart from Kapil, we had good phase bowlers in Srinath, Prabhakar & a couple of them. We need a monitoring system at domestic level & assign this work to people like Srinath, Prabhakar, Venky & so on, so that, identifying a bowler& nurturing would become easy. We find some one like Aron & never guide him on the importance of raw phase. Pick him for a series & never trust him to play in the eleven. After the series, drop him & look beyond. It does no good to the player or for Indian bowling resources by itself. Plz raise such issues so that the management would at-least will know whats the issue they need to sort-it-out. With all due respect to the existing bowlers in the team, v still need a Genuine quicks

  • Percy_Fender on September 9, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    Harsha, I remember Parthiv Patel, being sent in as a make shift opener in Pakistan in a Test match in 2004, I think, so that Yuvraj could bat lower down the order against Shoaib and Sami. He stood up and hooked Shoaib on a couple of occasions leaving the showman rattled.So he was not the "dabber" as you have said. He had some strokes but more importantly had the courage and spirit to play at the highest level.It is just that because he was a wicket keeper as well (and not a very good one),he had been denied that sustained level of relevance in selection matters.His performance behind the stumps in Australia at Sydney in 2004 is what his critics remember him for sadly.But as he showed against Flintoff,Hoggard and Harmison in '02 he has that steely temperament that we need in Indian cricket.Rahane was fit to be selected 2 years ago but just no one who wrote on cricket made a pitch.As a reader I have been shouting from the cricinfo roof top to bring him in.Yet Vijay and Mukund came.

  • on September 9, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Dhoni should take some inspiration from Clive Lloyd, and go on to search some good bowlers for his team himself.

  • on September 9, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    You can't remain among the top teams without a good bowling attack, that's what India are finding out right now. The teams with the strongest bowling attacks right now, England and SA are also the two best teams in the world. Even Australia's newly formed attack already looks so much better than India.

  • on September 9, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    The truth of the article is adequately captured in the title itself. But, what is missing is the word 'fast' before the word 'bowlers'. And by fast, I mean 'very fast', not the military medium of 120 kmph that we have somehow taken out a name for : 'fast medium'. We need bowlers bowling with the new ball that can send down thunderbolts consistently in the range of 145-150 kmph. These bowlers will put the fear of god in the opposition batsmen and give other teams something to think about. not "skill set" bowlers as Dhoni terms the current bunch but pure, raw, genuine pace is the only solution.

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  • on September 9, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    The truth of the article is adequately captured in the title itself. But, what is missing is the word 'fast' before the word 'bowlers'. And by fast, I mean 'very fast', not the military medium of 120 kmph that we have somehow taken out a name for : 'fast medium'. We need bowlers bowling with the new ball that can send down thunderbolts consistently in the range of 145-150 kmph. These bowlers will put the fear of god in the opposition batsmen and give other teams something to think about. not "skill set" bowlers as Dhoni terms the current bunch but pure, raw, genuine pace is the only solution.

  • on September 9, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    You can't remain among the top teams without a good bowling attack, that's what India are finding out right now. The teams with the strongest bowling attacks right now, England and SA are also the two best teams in the world. Even Australia's newly formed attack already looks so much better than India.

  • on September 9, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Dhoni should take some inspiration from Clive Lloyd, and go on to search some good bowlers for his team himself.

  • Percy_Fender on September 9, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    Harsha, I remember Parthiv Patel, being sent in as a make shift opener in Pakistan in a Test match in 2004, I think, so that Yuvraj could bat lower down the order against Shoaib and Sami. He stood up and hooked Shoaib on a couple of occasions leaving the showman rattled.So he was not the "dabber" as you have said. He had some strokes but more importantly had the courage and spirit to play at the highest level.It is just that because he was a wicket keeper as well (and not a very good one),he had been denied that sustained level of relevance in selection matters.His performance behind the stumps in Australia at Sydney in 2004 is what his critics remember him for sadly.But as he showed against Flintoff,Hoggard and Harmison in '02 he has that steely temperament that we need in Indian cricket.Rahane was fit to be selected 2 years ago but just no one who wrote on cricket made a pitch.As a reader I have been shouting from the cricinfo roof top to bring him in.Yet Vijay and Mukund came.

  • Phase_swinG on September 9, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Its a great article if it has the title of Batting leads to success. Harsha, like everyone else, you missed to justify the meaning of phase bowling except for a small reference to Kapil Dev. Talent in Indian players is abundance but the system that recognizes it is entirely missing. Apart from Kapil, we had good phase bowlers in Srinath, Prabhakar & a couple of them. We need a monitoring system at domestic level & assign this work to people like Srinath, Prabhakar, Venky & so on, so that, identifying a bowler& nurturing would become easy. We find some one like Aron & never guide him on the importance of raw phase. Pick him for a series & never trust him to play in the eleven. After the series, drop him & look beyond. It does no good to the player or for Indian bowling resources by itself. Plz raise such issues so that the management would at-least will know whats the issue they need to sort-it-out. With all due respect to the existing bowlers in the team, v still need a Genuine quicks

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    In the history of Indian Cricket we have never seen a Genuine Fast Bowler (who can bowl 145-150 kmph consistently) after Kapil Dev. It is hard to believe that Indians couldn't produce genuine fast bowlers where as Pakistan does that time and again. If there are no emerging Fast Bowlers in India, why couldn't we start from the scratch by nurturing the young talents. Nothing is impossible for the Board if it makes right move in its structure for producing Fast Bowlers.

  • on September 9, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    As Harsha had said earlier,'its not only about finding talent but also nurturing it'. So a "super fast" bowler will be accustomed to injuries if u will make him play so many matches. I really think the format of IPL should be shortened or it must be held every 2 or 3 years or so. Also India's test bowlers should be discouraged from playing such tournaments and must be given some rest for as long as possible. By only taking such drastic measures, there will be hope for future of test cricket in India.

  • Leggie on September 9, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Rightly summed up. While IPL is not a huge problem by itself, its a pity that we use IPL as the breeding ground for budding bowlers & batsmen. There has to be some fine-tuning that has to take place in the IPL on three fronts. 1) If India is serious about unearthing fast bowlers, the pitches for IPL must aid something in it for the fast bowlers. What we saw after IPLv3 was a tired & fatigued - physically & mentally - group of fast bowlers. The successful fast bowlers were the ones who bowled the best slower ones. This surely is an anomaly that needs immediate attention. 2) IPL should not be played in the months of March/April when the temperatures reach 40 Deg+ during the day. The effect of playing through these tough months literally drains the cricketers. 3) Limit the number of matches. The format is too long & after-match IPL parties must be stopped. There is certainly no dearth of talent in India, and making minor adjustments to the "launchpad" IPL should help India get back to #1.

  • justk on September 9, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    surprisingly, but for all the correct reasons, it took so much time to understand the problem that why india were a poor traveller and what was the thing which would not allow them to dominate..ian chappell earlier had said this thing, but at that time, everyone trashed him..but now happy that at least, fast bowlers in india are getting respected which they should have been..but in india, cricket is only batting..may be, because of mindset of parents also..as batting is easy to be spotted..atleast, kids will get some job to feed off ..but i feel that bowlers should be given more respect..especially fast bowlers as they win matches..and media also used to report wrong earlier..indian batting failed..it is not indian batting which had failed..it was the immaculate bowlilng which trashed the batting line up..but i am happy that now at least people in india have started to understand cricket..that bowlers and catches win matches..not batsman

  • Shivh on September 9, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    What an article! Loved reading it all the way. I wonder, if we, all Indians, should also take little blame for the shortage of fast bowlers. I don't see the mentality here where a bowler like,take Shaun Tait for example, is given full support of bowling fast(super fast). I am not sure, if he was born here not in Aus, he would have been the same bowler coming at the batsmen not worrying about the line and length,still very effective. Having said that, now the mentality is changing slowly. Hope, something comes out good soon. I feel that it would be a great if Kapil dev with some one from outside too(I know that MRF pace academy is there but still) is given a go to find and nurture a talent as suggested by Harsha.