October 23, 2011

Step forth, über-quicks

Pat Cummins' arrival has caused excitement among fans of the game. Cricket must do everything it can to preserve and nurture fast-bowling talent such as his
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It's not surprising young Patrick Cummins' arrival in the Australian team has created a lot of interest. Genuine fast bowlers are only slightly behind swing bowling and legspin as vital factors in cricket's success.

While swingers and leggies add to the variety of entertainment, the genuine fast bowler puts the test into Test match cricket. He tests the courage of batsmen, and whilst this has been diluted in the era of substantial protective equipment, any player who is the slightest bit apprehensive will still be found out. Nothing stirs the excitement of the crowd like the sight of a Brett Lee charging in off a long run to be confronted by a belligerent Virender Sehwag. The mystique surrounding the first ball of a Test match is built on such confrontations.

The fact that Cummins' hasty arrival has created such interest is proof of the need for genuine fast bowlers. That he's being hailed as a prospect, though he has very little prior history, is also an indication there aren't enough of his type in the game at the moment.

In the 1990s the game was blessed with a boatload of good fast bowlers: the obligatory four from the West Indies, the two Ws from Pakistan, and those in South Africa and Australia.

Currently there are good pace bowlers around, with Dale Steyn and Jimmy Anderson heading the cast. However, they rely more on swing to ambush the batsmen and don't create the same ripple of anticipation that buzzes around the ground when a genuine paceman measures out his run. There's nothing to match the thrill one feels at the sight of 60 metres of ground (40 of grass and 20 of turf) between the bowler and the wicketkeeper.

While there are concerns about the adverse effect Twenty20 might have on the technique and artistry of batting, a close watch also needs to be kept on what it does to fast bowlers. Already we are witnessing a variety of slower deliveries being paraded by the quicker bowlers. Consequently it's good to occasionally see a bowler like Shaun Tait, who works on this simple principle: "Here it is, see if you can hit it."

I once suggested to Jeff Thomson that he have a chat with his fast bowling team-mate Dennis Lillee about how to bowl on slower pitches. "Mate, if you don't mind," replied Thomson, "I'll do it my way." After some thought I realised Thommo was right; he was a fast bowler and he was going to live or die on his pace.

While a bowler needs to vary his pace in a fast-scoring game like T20, the wise words of former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts should be required learning for any budding quick. Roberts once asked: "Why don't fast bowlers change up instead of down?" That's how Roberts and a few other good quick bowlers operated; their pace variation was up a gear, and if it was well disguised, it was damned difficult to handle.

In picking 18-year-old Cummins, the Australian selectors have adhered to another of Roberts' pearls of wisdom. Roberts believed that fast bowlers only had a few years of genuine pace and it was important to "pick them while they're still quick".

It will be a pity if the hectic international scheduling leads to a reduction in the number of such fast bowlers. There aren't enough of them around now that the game can afford to turn those few who dream of bowling quick into medium-fast trundlers.

Fast bowling is a state of mind as much as a physical skill. Lillee once said: "As I stopped at the top of my mark, I imagined the ball still rising as it smacked into Rod Marsh's gloves."

Let's hope that Cummins and many other youngsters like him in every cricket-playing country are born with similar vivid imaginations. It takes a lot of courage to imagine that scenario when in reality what the bowler often sees in the distance is an armour-clad batsman standing at the end of 20 metres of lifeless turf.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY King_Khawaja on | October 25, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    I do not always agree with Ian Chappel but this time he is correct: his use of words like "mystique" and "anticipation" are perfectly accurate to describe genuine fast bowlers. A couple of years ago I really enjoyed watching Amir and Kemar Roach fire up an Australian summer. Sadly Roach no longer seems to be considered good enough for the WI XI (does anyone know why? He averages under 30 in all forms of international cricket) and we all know what happened to Amir. Hopefully Cummins can provide the excitement!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 25, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    Eh, you've got to have more than express pace to be a good bowler. Variation, patience, and consistency - quick bowling without any of these is a shortcut to a pasting. Let's hope Cummins shows some of these qualities (preferably all of them)...

  • POSTED BY on | October 25, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    fast bowlers are the ones who make watching cricket exciting , really good to see good number of fast bowlers , we need bowlers like Garner,Marshal , Roberts , Lillee , Ambrose , Waqar , Wasim. and then we will see how these batsman survive , if bats can be made heavier and bigger , why not allow fast bowlers 2 bouncers in all format of cricket and see how good batsman;s are , its been batsman's game recently , good to see new crop of fast mens , hope they get better and faster.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    AUS have a lot of pacemen atm so to does england,SA is good with steyn and morkel,havent seen anyone to back them up who is quick.... INDIA HAVE YADAV,AARON AND ISHANT... aaron impressed me in the match i saw him so did yadav,both have pace... work with them india could be deadly

  • POSTED BY Rakim on | October 24, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    +1 Ian Chappell, both Ws (Wasim/Waqar) came into team when they were 18/17 respectively, Mohammad Amir was 17/18 too. I hope this guy Cummins' bowl up to 95mph. Finn is good too, although he is being bashed by Indians at the moment.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 24, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    i think in finns case, it been the work hes done on his body. he was a bean pole before. im not saying he could now be a #8 for england rugby union but he has bulked up. slightly changing his run up and delevery. looking at him these days he looks about 5/6/ kilos heavier. its hard when u look at a fast bowler during odis because slower bowls can be as much important as fast. but his stock delivery in the last 5/6 odis has been about 88 mph and highest coming in at 95 mph which given the conditions the oval and indian grounds which have been pretty placid. he does not have too long a run up or perticular quick run to the wicket. very similar to morkels with speeds i guess the same. and the one telling thing they are both 6' 7" in ht. if he can stay fit he should get 300 wickets + for his country.dpk

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 24, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    i think the fast bowlers of today are as good quick and hostile as previous named bowlers but not the quantity. its just the wickets seem these days to be dumbed down. most wickets these days seem to be batters friendly. were wickets 10/15 years ago were more bowler friendly. i remember during the great west indies teams and the wickets they prepared were for that great battery of bowlers. viv richards quite openly saying it was their home series and that was it. dpk

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    @Balldinho: Baseball pitchers stand in a single spot and perform an action far less at odds with the usual physical stresses the body can be expected to undergo. Bowlers, fast bowlers, run in thirty or forty yards, and put an enormous amount of weight on a single ankle. They will repeat this action, inimical to the body's usual geometry, thousands of times a season. A baseball pitcher, though a skilled operation and, almost certainly, difficult to sustain over the immensely long seasons, nevertheless, does not contort his body as regularly in as extreme a fashion.

  • POSTED BY Murchadh on | October 24, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Also, the "radar" used to determine bowling speed does not provide an accurate reflection of "pace" for two reasons. The actual positioning of the radar is VITAL and hence the same bowler might bowl at the same speed on two different grounds when the radar shows two different speeds. What's more, the radar does not measure the arrival speed of the ball at the batsman, which is BY FAR more important and differs greatly between different bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Murchadh on | October 24, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    @Balldinho: Do you actually follow Baseball? Starting pitchers play nowhere near 162 games a season. They are on a rotation with 4, 5 and sometimes 6 other pitchers. Also, pitchers hardly ever pitch more than 120 pitches (that figure being rare actually), most of the time they throw well under 100. Thus a starting pitcher throws max 20 overs worth every 4 or 5 days. "Everyday pitchers" such as closers usually throw a very small number of pitches and only do so when the win is in question for a team. It is common practice not to actually use closers if a game is beyond a team already. Also, the mechanics of pitching and bowling are vastly different. You mention torque with pitching, but (a) you do you know how common injuries with pitchers are right? and (b) fast bowling places FAR more strain on the body, mainly due to the landing, which obviously does not exist with pitching. Also, it is quite common for pitchers to pitch well into their 40s. Ask yourself why.

  • POSTED BY King_Khawaja on | October 25, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    I do not always agree with Ian Chappel but this time he is correct: his use of words like "mystique" and "anticipation" are perfectly accurate to describe genuine fast bowlers. A couple of years ago I really enjoyed watching Amir and Kemar Roach fire up an Australian summer. Sadly Roach no longer seems to be considered good enough for the WI XI (does anyone know why? He averages under 30 in all forms of international cricket) and we all know what happened to Amir. Hopefully Cummins can provide the excitement!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 25, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    Eh, you've got to have more than express pace to be a good bowler. Variation, patience, and consistency - quick bowling without any of these is a shortcut to a pasting. Let's hope Cummins shows some of these qualities (preferably all of them)...

  • POSTED BY on | October 25, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    fast bowlers are the ones who make watching cricket exciting , really good to see good number of fast bowlers , we need bowlers like Garner,Marshal , Roberts , Lillee , Ambrose , Waqar , Wasim. and then we will see how these batsman survive , if bats can be made heavier and bigger , why not allow fast bowlers 2 bouncers in all format of cricket and see how good batsman;s are , its been batsman's game recently , good to see new crop of fast mens , hope they get better and faster.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    AUS have a lot of pacemen atm so to does england,SA is good with steyn and morkel,havent seen anyone to back them up who is quick.... INDIA HAVE YADAV,AARON AND ISHANT... aaron impressed me in the match i saw him so did yadav,both have pace... work with them india could be deadly

  • POSTED BY Rakim on | October 24, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    +1 Ian Chappell, both Ws (Wasim/Waqar) came into team when they were 18/17 respectively, Mohammad Amir was 17/18 too. I hope this guy Cummins' bowl up to 95mph. Finn is good too, although he is being bashed by Indians at the moment.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 24, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    i think in finns case, it been the work hes done on his body. he was a bean pole before. im not saying he could now be a #8 for england rugby union but he has bulked up. slightly changing his run up and delevery. looking at him these days he looks about 5/6/ kilos heavier. its hard when u look at a fast bowler during odis because slower bowls can be as much important as fast. but his stock delivery in the last 5/6 odis has been about 88 mph and highest coming in at 95 mph which given the conditions the oval and indian grounds which have been pretty placid. he does not have too long a run up or perticular quick run to the wicket. very similar to morkels with speeds i guess the same. and the one telling thing they are both 6' 7" in ht. if he can stay fit he should get 300 wickets + for his country.dpk

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 24, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    i think the fast bowlers of today are as good quick and hostile as previous named bowlers but not the quantity. its just the wickets seem these days to be dumbed down. most wickets these days seem to be batters friendly. were wickets 10/15 years ago were more bowler friendly. i remember during the great west indies teams and the wickets they prepared were for that great battery of bowlers. viv richards quite openly saying it was their home series and that was it. dpk

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    @Balldinho: Baseball pitchers stand in a single spot and perform an action far less at odds with the usual physical stresses the body can be expected to undergo. Bowlers, fast bowlers, run in thirty or forty yards, and put an enormous amount of weight on a single ankle. They will repeat this action, inimical to the body's usual geometry, thousands of times a season. A baseball pitcher, though a skilled operation and, almost certainly, difficult to sustain over the immensely long seasons, nevertheless, does not contort his body as regularly in as extreme a fashion.

  • POSTED BY Murchadh on | October 24, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    Also, the "radar" used to determine bowling speed does not provide an accurate reflection of "pace" for two reasons. The actual positioning of the radar is VITAL and hence the same bowler might bowl at the same speed on two different grounds when the radar shows two different speeds. What's more, the radar does not measure the arrival speed of the ball at the batsman, which is BY FAR more important and differs greatly between different bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Murchadh on | October 24, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    @Balldinho: Do you actually follow Baseball? Starting pitchers play nowhere near 162 games a season. They are on a rotation with 4, 5 and sometimes 6 other pitchers. Also, pitchers hardly ever pitch more than 120 pitches (that figure being rare actually), most of the time they throw well under 100. Thus a starting pitcher throws max 20 overs worth every 4 or 5 days. "Everyday pitchers" such as closers usually throw a very small number of pitches and only do so when the win is in question for a team. It is common practice not to actually use closers if a game is beyond a team already. Also, the mechanics of pitching and bowling are vastly different. You mention torque with pitching, but (a) you do you know how common injuries with pitchers are right? and (b) fast bowling places FAR more strain on the body, mainly due to the landing, which obviously does not exist with pitching. Also, it is quite common for pitchers to pitch well into their 40s. Ask yourself why.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 24, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    i think re baseball to fast bowlers. a fast baller has 30/40 mts to run were the pitcher just stands still and round arms the ball. the slinger from SL would make a good pitcher. you my tell im not a baseball aficionado. dpk

  • POSTED BY Murchadh on | October 24, 2011, 9:38 GMT

    @Clint Nelson: Did you know that during the 2000s batsman on average averaged HIGHER than in any prior decade? Why would this be? Better batsmen or more batsmen friendly conditions? EITHER answer says that during Steyn's career (so far) it is more difficult for bowlers (certainly way more difficult than during the uncovered pitches era), which makes his record so much more amazing. You are correct in saying Steyn does not actually have frightening pace. His wickets MOSTLY are as a result of accuracy combined with subtle swing. I am often astonished by how few people actually understand the mechanics of fast bowling. Pace is NOT required AT ALL, netiher is prodigious swing. In fact, after a certain point pace becomes a detriment since it hampers the ball's ability to deviate throught the air naturally (unlike via ball wear or reverse). Pace imo is totally overrated. Ask yourself why Shane Warne was so successful. It had nothing to do with hsi variations and or turn.

  • POSTED BY timmyw on | October 24, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    @Balldinho - urrmmm you realise that comparison is a total lot of rubbish don't you? Fast bowlers in cricket run in to the wicket, sometimes over DAYS. Even ODIs last longer. A game of base ball lasts hours. Also a baseball pitcher will stand there, he doesn't run in at all. The act of delivering the ball in cricket is extremely fatiguing and stressing on the body. Especially when trying to extract high pace. I am not saying baseball players aren't fit, but really? You need to get your facts straight mate, what you said was utter garbage. Completely different games and requirements of the body. - As for Dale Steyn, are some of you really suggesting he isn't that great? I agree, his SR is inflated. But watching this man bowl with the control and pace he has, the accuracy and the swing I think he is the best bowler in the world bar none right now. I believe he would have been awesome in any era.

  • POSTED BY KP_84 on | October 24, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Australia has a better stock of paceman in a bad cricketing generation than teams like Sri Lanka and India have in a good one. Sri Lanka probably has their worst pace attack since the 1980s at the moment. After Zaheer's career comes to an end, India's won't be looking much better. It is very unfortunate that the cricket boards of these two nations are unlikely to do anything about it, as long as their respective teams are doing reasonably well in limited overs cricket. Through a combination of new talent and South Asian indifference towards test cricket, Australia will probably be back in the top 2 or 3 in the Test rankings pretty soon.

  • POSTED BY tanweeralam on | October 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    @subbass and others.

    Agree Anderson did well in Australia and England but they have similar fast bowler friendly conditions. He might do well in South Africa I would call some one a genuine fast bowler who can make batsmen jump even in dead conditions who have this ability of turning matches in span of few overs.. and in recent times the ones that I can think of are Shoeb and Lee how re ignited the love of fast bowling among the fan. There is nothing more beautiful in cricket than watching a fast bowler with the full run up

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    @balldinho Baseball pitchers do not bowl like cricket bowlers do. Starting pitchers go an average of 6-7 innings. And they pitch every 5 days. So while it is a 162 games, they are still starting around 30 games a year. Secondly, once taken off the mound they do not return. In cricket, the bowlers stays on the field, to field and to bat. Once his body cools down he still comes back to bowl many overs later. Lastly pitchers are not chucking it at 100mph all the time. Good pitchers utilize every kind of pitch, sliders, change-ups, 2 seam, or 4 seam fast balls, curve balls, sinkers. etc etc. And in baseball, good fast pitchers do not last as long as pacemen in cricket. Most end up having tommy john surgery and never recover to good form.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    As an Indian the only World Class Fast Bowler we have had so far is Zaheer Khan with a good fast bowler in Srinath whose initial career was spoiled by Kapil Dev's obsession with the 431 record.Lost a number of guys like RP Singh,Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel in the last few years to loss of pace and a talented guy like Sreesanth has something wrong in his head.On the brighter side Praveen is learning quickly and Ishant is doing somewhat ok.Hope Aaron and Umesh Yadav don't lose their pace.

  • POSTED BY ProteaMan on | October 24, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    Yes, Cummins is fast, but is he good? Pace means a lot, but intellegent pace means so much more. With raw pace, but a weak head and no variation a quickie, early is his carreer can be taken apart by the Kallis's, Trotts, AB de Villiers's of the game. Only time will tell whether he has these attributes. Can't wait to see him in the coming tests here in South Africa.

  • POSTED BY subbass on | October 24, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    Well write Anderson off at your peril Indian fans, the Aussies said he would not do anything down under based on the fact he had a poor tour there in 2006. So please. keep saying he his no good, just makes it more likely he will end up taking plenty of wickets !

  • POSTED BY longlivewoodoo on | October 24, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    I totally agree with Ian . We have some good quicks around the world but they are not threatening by their pace as some times Lee , Akhtar , Donald did. It may be because of batsman have found methods to tackle these quickies.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 24, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    @STRAIGHT_TALK - agreed re: pitches. When you get a bit of a green top, lots of batsmen do not have the technique to withstand. A return to more greener 1st day pitches will do wonders for pace bowling as opposed to swing. @luks - I had an Indian co-worker during that summer, & I said at the time that I thought that India had just uncovered a bigger, faster version of McGrath. How wrong was I? He was clocked at 150kph that summer, I don't think I've seen him crack 140kph since.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    Gentlemen, please do not be absurd. Can Dale Steyn ever step into the boots of Wazim Akram? This is a genuine chalk and cheese comparison! Dale is a good bowler who came up when there is not one really, really great batsman to test him. When Akram was around, there were many - some of the best of all time - he had good battles with them - some he lost, some he won. Steyn has never been tested, as there is no one now to test him. Tendulkar is now regarded as the best, but we see how those young up and coming English QUICKS destroyed him, because he has never been in the league that destroys them and make them fear him. Gayle and Sehwag have the potential but they are too inconsistent. KP also has the ability, but he too is inconsistent. Steyn does not possess any type of frightening pace, hence, as Ian rightly said he relies a lot on swing. I don't know how he would have fared against the likes of Bradman, Sobers, Richards and Lara. These are guys who made bowlers afraid of them.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    Pakistan has been doing this from years - How can you forget Shoaib Akhter, who really brought back the era of extremely fast bowling.

  • POSTED BY Balldinho on | October 23, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    So please tell me why Baseball players last longer? Throwing at Faster Pace, and putting more torque in their bodies at 162 games a Year... (More then Cricket). Its never too much Cricket, poor technique and fitness if you ask me!

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | October 23, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    Could not agree more with Ian. Nothing gets a fan to hurry to the ground (or tv) than to watch the thrill of a fast bowler or a leg spinner - no matter their affilliation. Just today for Ind-Eng when it was announced that England is throwing in the fastest bowler of their land and a rookie leg spinner made the watching of Indian innings a prospect to watch out for. May the ilk of fast bowlers thrive because they make this a beautiful game .

  • POSTED BY muec7 on | October 23, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    Pat Cummins, Junaid Khan, Stephen Finn & Varun Aaron are the best up and coming quicks in my opinion

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | October 23, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    Dale Steyn should not be classed as the same as Jimmy Anderson. Anderson is a swing bowler who happens to be quick. Steyn is an express paceman who happens to swing it.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    @dpk, I don't know if all your challengers would admit - but I stand corrected, and no shame in admitting that! Finn definitely didn't start out as express, but over the past 4 matches, his pace has only gone up ( and honestly, in unresponsive flat pitches - as Waqar, Wasim or Holding would - the best way is to take the pitch out of the equation). Watching a genuine quick test a batsman for pace is one of the purest ( and rare) pleasures. That said, I'd slightly disagree with Chappell's view that Steyn undoes more in swing than pace. Steyn is pretty much the Akram of this era, has mastery over all tenets of fast bowling, and it's depending on the batsman, and pitch that he chooses to use his weapon. In Yadav and Aaron IND have found two men who have some good nip - better use them now. It's also a bit about rhythm. In good old days Ishant started around 80-85 mph, added a bit of muscle, got his rhythm sorted out and moved up a few clicks to 90-95mph.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 23, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    just looking at the SA bowlers i saw a stupid comment on another page about morkel been average and and many of the aussie bowlers been superior to him .im fair and i think i give credit were credit is due. i also know that is not always the case from certain writers. looking at both steyn and morkel. steyn is always the one you expect to be the faster but thats not the case. in the indian series in SA morkel was hitting 92+mph much more than steyn and had the faster times by 1or 2 mph.also i find just rubbishing a guy because he hes not from your country, odd. but what i think odder, is that they get posted dpk

  • POSTED BY IPSY on | October 23, 2011, 19:30 GMT

    Ian, I guess you also know the strategy that the Indians used to to try to make fast bowlers extinct; as no Indian batsman has ever liked them: They disguisingly came up with an extremely lucrative league, 'the IPL' which was tempting enough to get fast bowlers to end serious fast bowling and stop playing test cricket. The IPL was designed to create a workload which would challenge their natural physique and they would have to chose whether to have a long enough playing longevity to become rich from it, or continue to waste their strength looking for fame where there is little money. Hence, guys like Bret Lee, Flintoff, Malinger, Tait, Fidel Edwards, Bond, Taylor, all who were doing well in the test arena fell for the ploy: some played IPL until they broke down - others packed up the test arena for good. India's objectives were immediately realised: They soon became the No.1 Test team in the world - Something they couldn't have done if all these bowlers still played tests seriously.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | October 23, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    vilander. i spoke of finns pace about a week or so ago. and was told id got it wrong. at 62, an old man can do those sort of things, nice to see his pace in england has actually increased to 95 mph in india, on the rainia dismissal, its good when a wicket goes on the guys speed, to people who may have doubted his pace. would be nice if he was bowling in oz or sa. with abit of pace, he could also add bounce from his 6' 7" ht. better still if we could get him into the test team but at the moment its a struggle to do so. dpk

  • POSTED BY serious-am-i on | October 23, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    was impressed to see cummins bowl at a good pace. It would be a treat to watch Cummins, Tait, Lee, Malinga, Steyn bowl in a single match for a single team. It would be a devastating time for the opposition batsmen. @Ahsan: Kindly mind your words sire, you need to show maturity even though u r a kid. The pace bowlers need good friendly wickets to make themselves better and a lot of meat to get good muscle strength and stamina. Indians in general are not 100% meat eaters, so there is going to be a difference in the stamina of the bowlers. Its just now India have found 2 new pacers who r clocking above 090mph, if there are pace friendly wickets prepared around u will see many more. Thus, said what happened to ur batsmen ? Any quality batters after Mianded ? Mohd.Yousuf is a test player, his ODI strike rate is pathetic. Anyways, this isn't about Pak v Ind, its just a debate about fast bowlers period.

  • POSTED BY ankursachin on | October 23, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    @Ahsan Raza : Well we Indians keep producing the likes of Sachin tendulkar, virender shwag dravid, Virat kohli, yuvraj etc etc who believes in confronting every savage attack; paying respect to the bowlers hitting it with class which even payee appreciates. Indian batsman respect bowlers and don't believe in afflicting harm to the bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    @Ahsan Raza, mate first start playing cricket regularly, then we can talk about forming leagues..

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | October 23, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    Finn is express, his delivery to get Raina was 149.9., he consistently clocks around 145. Aaron is quick but not express as thought of earlier, hovers around 140-145 much in Umesh Yadav class. The new surrey kid Meekers is quick too around 140-145.

  • POSTED BY Aniruddha_K on | October 23, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    Sure genuine quickies are a sensation but really they are not a must as far as winning matches is concerned... None of the great matchwinners of this generation like Mcgrath , Warne, Murali, Steyn,Kumble were from that class of bowlers... But yes they do provide a different dimension to the game....and they are bigtime crowd pullers.In this era they need to decide what their priorities are because they just cannot hope to play in all 3 formats all the time and produce the same kind of pace. Also I think the one thing needed to produce exciting cricket is to prepare wickets that will have something for the bowlers...

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | October 23, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    @Ahsan Raza We do not call batsmen averaging 20-s batsmen unlike your team. Your 90+ bowlers could win you only one WC where as our military medium bowlers and tremendous batsmen have won us two. It will take 3-4 centuries atleast for Pakistan to produce one batsman as good as Sachin, Dravid, Laxman or Ganguly. And don't worry about our pace battery. We have finally found some guys who can bowl really quick. Umesh Yadav and Aaron are hitting 90MPH+ on slow wickets consistently.

  • POSTED BY big_al_81 on | October 23, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    @ Shrikant Desai. What an absolute joy to see such sensible and measured comments from an Indian fan on here. There have been many really good and several great batsmen from India, but very few good and hardly any great bowlers. And much as I love Jimmy Anderson and respect Zaheer (when he's looking after himself or not injured) I'd agree that Steyn is in a league of his own at the top. He's been good from the beginning the other 2 have been much later developers.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | October 23, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    @Ahsan Raza: Well India are the masters of the batsmen league which Pakistan is not invited to. I can only name a few Pakistani batsmen in all these years who are fit to be up in the league of the Tendulkars, the Dravids, the Laras, the Viv Richards etc. So India has many of the finest batsmen and Pakistan has fast bowlers. Everyone cannot be good at everything.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Good too see new fast bowlers coming, the real quick, the real sensations. I would still put Lee at the top among current fast bowlers. Steyn is great but not a crowd puller like Lee. Among all the real quicks since 1990, i would put Waqar at the top considering the longevity of career, wickets he bowled on and the results. He and Wasim both played most of their cricket on flat sub-continent wickets. Hope ICC shows some sense and a little is offered for these quickies as encouragement. Make some rules for these poor fellows, we are sick of these run fests and T20s. Hope guys like Cummins, Pattinson, Aaron, Junaid and others mark a new era of fast bowling greats. All the best guys!

  • POSTED BY abhilash.medhi on | October 23, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    @Ahsan Raza: We are very jealous of the fast bowlers that Pakistan keeps producing - so jealous some of us actually admire them. My favourite fast bowler of all time is Wasim, a sentiment I am sure many Indians will express. No point debating which team has the better players. We can talk about our batsmen all day but that is another matter altogether.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    We must be honest to confess that so called World champion India has so far produced only 5 world class fast bowlers in all these years. Nisar,Amarsingh,Kapil,Srinath and Zaheer.We simply make tons of runs on our docile pitches.We should not forget the recent tour of England.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Having seen Cummins bowling in the australian domestic tournaments and recently in the clt20, he seems to be be very impressive & promising but its still early days for him.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Ahh Poor Indians always drooling over Pakistan's Pace and despising them with every fiber of their being. This is Pace league Of Pakistan, South Africa and Australia ... India is not invited :)

  • POSTED BY Abhaya_Ind on | October 23, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    No one can forget Zaheer Khan the most clever bowler in all formats, he has been good in subcontinent pitches,taken reverse swing and has done better in helpful conditions. Anyway he is far better than Jimmy but Steyn is a class apart, he should not be compared to any of the current fast bowler.

  • POSTED BY Raj_759 on | October 23, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    yeah but good fast bowlers are hard to find and bowling fast is the most difficult thing to do nowadays.....................but wait a min pat cummins fine ,quick but bowl 90mph consistently in 1st spell, but wait a min hes ot the only sensation, .......................india have 2 very good 140-150kph range quickies coming up in aaron and yadav.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    He's not. Dale Steyn is. And Gul, honestly?

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Shaun Tait,Morne Morkel and Umar Gul are names which have been missed out.They are genuine fast bowlers and should have had a mention.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    Tanweer, can I suggest you look at Anderson's figures in Australia last (English) winter? Not "way below average" by any means. I would say Steyn is the leading quick bowler, though. On Ian's point on fast bowlers, I think there is considerable cause for optimism in the new generation. Pakistan continue (somehow!) to produce exciting quicks. You have Aaron for India, Cummins, Finn (who is bowling 150k balls) and Meaker for England, Roach and Edwards for West Indies.

    The key issue for all these bowlers is to learn how their skills can be fitted to T20 without being diluted. They could learn a lot from the great Andy Roberts.

  • POSTED BY tick on | October 23, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    at this moment...two bright stars have emerged...pat cummins and junaid khan...both have excellent skills and pace upto 150 kph...both have gained critical acclaim from many...hoping that they remain as fast and furious as they are now..

  • POSTED BY Pajny on | October 23, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    '' in reality what the bowler often sees in the distance is an armour-clad batsman standing at the end of 20 metres of lifeless turf.'' Brilliant piece once again mate. I really love to read your articles. Truly, in cricket the best sight is a FAST bowler rampaging and delivering a 95 miler. Cuz we know cant do that so we love it when someone else does. The present cricketing atmosphere has made fast bowlers into polar bears- driving them towards extinction. It's a pity.......it's really a pity.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Ian, Steyn is not an operator of just swing! He is genuine pace and can frighten batsmen. I would certainly put him a notch above cummins when it comes to the ultra fast variety! You've seen his spells in Cape town against Collingwood / Bell and Tendulkar right?

  • POSTED BY boooonnie on | October 23, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Todays fast bowlers are picking up their pay cheques in 20/20 and ODIs and leaving the potentially career ending and grueling test match cricket over to medium pacers and spinners. It truly terrible to see Bond,Tait, Lee, and Malinga to name a few preferring the white ball over the red. ICC and cricket administrators need to work harder to ensure that international cricket schedules are not over dosing on quick rich limited overs competitions leaving test cricket paceless.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    Wait a while Ian, the young Indian lads are knocking at the door.

  • POSTED BY kurups on | October 23, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    A very good article.....got a real high after reading this on fast bowlers. Good job Ian as always and hope all works out well with the boards and associations to get and preserve these rare breed without which cricket will never be as interesting as it should be.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    Umar Gul is a great bowler on his day, as is Anderson, but both average over 30+ in Test Cricket. Steyn's average, around 23, is much more in keeping with the greats, and no doubt he will be remembered 50 years down the track, as will be McGrath, Ambrose, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis etc. Chappell is right - the great quicks need to be revered, but Anderson is yet to prove himself one, and even Brett Lee will be remembered more for speed than results. Thomson may be remembered for the greater speed, but ultimately Lillee's average and strike rate were superior.

  • POSTED BY Governor on | October 23, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    The selectors have to take a gamble and pick Patrick Cummins. If you recall, the West Indies selectors of the 70s and 80s did not mess around. When they saw a young Michael Holding and Andy Roberts, they picked them in the Test XI. They were fast and raw. They suffered a huge loss in 1975-76 when we beat them 5-1, but the WI had a great pace attack from 1976 to 1991.

    Fast bowlers have to be picked when they are young. DK Lillee was picked against England in 1970-71 at the age of 21-22.

    We have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by picking Patrick Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson. I am prepared to drop Mitchell Johnson from the test team. Johnson is a liability and he is a short term investment. Will he play test cricket in 2013??

    ummm.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    yeah.. Anderson is a genuine swing bowler.. His pace doesnt affect anyone in Indian conditions.. Bowlers whose pace genuinely affects Indians in Indian conditions are genuine fast bowlers with stingy pace like that of Cummins.. To name a few with that effect on batsmen, Steve Finn, Steyn, Gul.

  • POSTED BY luks on | October 23, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    The sight of Ishant Sharma charging in, in Australia and causing Pointing problems was one of the most lovely sights in Indian cricket. I hope India too creates some (atleast a couple?) pitches conducive to fast bowling and let Aaron, Ishant, Umesh be nurtured as fast bowlers. It should be obvious now that Ishant has to work on his pace to be effective again as he was initially.

  • POSTED BY STRAIGHT_TALK on | October 23, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    The decline in fast bowling over the years is primarily due to the increasing number of flat and lifeless pitches. If there is an art in nurturing a pace bowler, a budding spin bowler and also grooming a batsman, it is equally and more important to prepare appropriate pitches and hae curators who have the ability to create a balanced contest between bat and ball. Crass commercialization is taking its toll with greed determining the number of T20 contests, which have reduced the game's quality. With heavy bats and more sophisticated protective equipment, batsmen are hailed as heroes when their edges go for and over the boundaries, which are ever shrinking. Is the ICC capable of doing anyting to improve the quality of cricket?

  • POSTED BY subbass on | October 23, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Tanweer check the world rankings mate. Anderson should be included along with Steyn as one of the best around, and check how many wickets he took in Australia last year ? Australia is not part of England ! Whilst Gul is very good at this moment in time, he is behind Anderson.

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | October 23, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    What a great article, couldn't agree more. I hope Cummins really does turn out to be the real deal. The only bowler I like watching these days is Dale Steyn and Johnson on the rare occasions he actually gets it right. I had a lot of hope for Mohammad Amir before he was led astray, Shaun Tait before his body and mind couldn't cope and Ishant Sharma before India neglected him, although there's still plenty of time for the latter. All these flat tracks certainly aren't helping either. Bring back the uncovered pitches and watch the batsman quiver! Those were the days.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    lol.. gul because he is from Pakistan? i don't disagree with the fact that he is a good bowler but trying to get his name out when there are plenty of players better than him sounds a little like 'nepotism' although you might not have meant it that way. I would say Steyn is better because of his accuracy, strike rate and consistency..

  • POSTED BY Drew2 on | October 23, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    "Genuine fast bowlers are only slightly behind swing bowling and legspin as vital factors in cricket's success???" I think that Clive LLoyd might disagree. So might the captains of Lillee Thomson, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Alan Donald and Dale Steyn.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 23, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    @tanweeralam - regardless of the conditions - when he is doing well he is very good. Gul is wholehearted, but was not as good as he teammates, the two As (Aamir & Asif) - IMO. Junaid is a star inthe making!

  • POSTED BY thefountain on | October 23, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    There's not too many quicks around because they get burnt out. Looks at the WSC era. There were pace bowlers everywhere! Look at guys like Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Shane Bond. They hardly played in the last five years due to injury. One has retired, two have retired from test cricket.

    There is simply too much cricket!

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    New Zealand have on of these 18 year old quicks too - Adam Milne, who is even faster. Just you wait

  • POSTED BY tanweeralam on | October 23, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    I do not understand how Anderson is called the leading fast bowler in the current generation. He is exceptional, in helping English condition and way below average in non helping ones. This has been his hallmark ever since and has just refused to go beyond it. I believe Gul would be the right one to be named among one of the best among today's fast bowlers breed.

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  • POSTED BY tanweeralam on | October 23, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    I do not understand how Anderson is called the leading fast bowler in the current generation. He is exceptional, in helping English condition and way below average in non helping ones. This has been his hallmark ever since and has just refused to go beyond it. I believe Gul would be the right one to be named among one of the best among today's fast bowlers breed.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    New Zealand have on of these 18 year old quicks too - Adam Milne, who is even faster. Just you wait

  • POSTED BY thefountain on | October 23, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    There's not too many quicks around because they get burnt out. Looks at the WSC era. There were pace bowlers everywhere! Look at guys like Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Shane Bond. They hardly played in the last five years due to injury. One has retired, two have retired from test cricket.

    There is simply too much cricket!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 23, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    @tanweeralam - regardless of the conditions - when he is doing well he is very good. Gul is wholehearted, but was not as good as he teammates, the two As (Aamir & Asif) - IMO. Junaid is a star inthe making!

  • POSTED BY Drew2 on | October 23, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    "Genuine fast bowlers are only slightly behind swing bowling and legspin as vital factors in cricket's success???" I think that Clive LLoyd might disagree. So might the captains of Lillee Thomson, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Alan Donald and Dale Steyn.

  • POSTED BY on | October 23, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    lol.. gul because he is from Pakistan? i don't disagree with the fact that he is a good bowler but trying to get his name out when there are plenty of players better than him sounds a little like 'nepotism' although you might not have meant it that way. I would say Steyn is better because of his accuracy, strike rate and consistency..

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | October 23, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    What a great article, couldn't agree more. I hope Cummins really does turn out to be the real deal. The only bowler I like watching these days is Dale Steyn and Johnson on the rare occasions he actually gets it right. I had a lot of hope for Mohammad Amir before he was led astray, Shaun Tait before his body and mind couldn't cope and Ishant Sharma before India neglected him, although there's still plenty of time for the latter. All these flat tracks certainly aren't helping either. Bring back the uncovered pitches and watch the batsman quiver! Those were the days.

  • POSTED BY subbass on | October 23, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Tanweer check the world rankings mate. Anderson should be included along with Steyn as one of the best around, and check how many wickets he took in Australia last year ? Australia is not part of England ! Whilst Gul is very good at this moment in time, he is behind Anderson.

  • POSTED BY STRAIGHT_TALK on | October 23, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    The decline in fast bowling over the years is primarily due to the increasing number of flat and lifeless pitches. If there is an art in nurturing a pace bowler, a budding spin bowler and also grooming a batsman, it is equally and more important to prepare appropriate pitches and hae curators who have the ability to create a balanced contest between bat and ball. Crass commercialization is taking its toll with greed determining the number of T20 contests, which have reduced the game's quality. With heavy bats and more sophisticated protective equipment, batsmen are hailed as heroes when their edges go for and over the boundaries, which are ever shrinking. Is the ICC capable of doing anyting to improve the quality of cricket?

  • POSTED BY luks on | October 23, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    The sight of Ishant Sharma charging in, in Australia and causing Pointing problems was one of the most lovely sights in Indian cricket. I hope India too creates some (atleast a couple?) pitches conducive to fast bowling and let Aaron, Ishant, Umesh be nurtured as fast bowlers. It should be obvious now that Ishant has to work on his pace to be effective again as he was initially.