August 17, 2012

India's bowling cupboard is empty, not thinly stocked

Worse, no one seems to want to do something about it
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India's recent team selections have been a lot like the Indian finance minister's recent budget speeches. Much was expected, much was possible, a new road map could have been put in place (as the business channels would have put it) but you got the feeling that, like Pranab Mukherjee, Krishnamachari Srikkanth was saying goodbye too. This was a handover selection, one characterised by leaving the big decisions to someone else. It happens in public life all the time, though, doesn't it?

Not taking a stance can be harmful. Teams, like economies, cannot plod along at a barely acceptable rate of growth. If India want to be No. 1 again (and I am assuming that that objective isn't gathering dust somewhere) then you need to take bold steps. Part of that is making a place in the Indian team aspirational, not something that you turn up after a break and find waiting for you.

That is why, for all of Ishant Sharma's innate ability, he should have been made to prove that he is ready to play; he ought to have done the hard yards, run through a Ranji Trophy team, and then forced the selectors to look at him. He hasn't played a game for months, has had surgery, and as everyone knows, you don't prove your match fitness by turning up for a couple of practice games. Worse still, how were the selectors convinced that he earns a place even at full fitness? His last year-odd has produced 21 wickets from 11 games at an average of 68 in largely helpful conditions. In terms of experience, with 45 Tests he is now only next to Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath, and has played more Tests than some of India's greats. The message going out to a young man who is desperately short of fulfilling his undoubted promise is that the team is just waiting for him to be fit and that they really can't do without him. Ishant himself would have been far better served fighting his way back. It's a poor selection. And we haven't even come to Piyush Chawla yet.

Chawla had a decent IPL at best, and stumbled when the pressure rose. You would need an advocate of great skill to win his case to be in the T20 side; and, to be honest, he would struggle to find someone to take on the job in the case of Test cricket. As Aakash Chopra - a sane voice India should use more - points out, Chawla took 27 wickets in first class cricket last year at 40.62 per wicket. It is like setting the bar to one metre to pick a high jump team. I don't even remember seeing his name in an India A team recently.

If this is the best bowling team India can pick, I would like the BCCI to get into an emergency meeting and appoint detectives to search for bowlers. I had thought all along that India's cupboard was thinly stocked. I can now announce that it is officially bare. There are no bowlers in India. We had anticipated this but didn't think the day would come so quickly.

I don't know what is worse, the absence of bowlers in India or the absence of any intent at all in looking for them. I keep coming back to what an organisation's priorities are. The BCCI is a well-evolved, financially savvy body. The IPL, and for that matter most cricket in India, is fairly efficiently organised, and the legal and financial acumen is outstanding. Look how quickly they moved to tackle a huge potential problem with the Deccan Chargers.

But there is a major fire raging around Indian cricket and I do not see anyone rushing to do anything about it. There are just no spinners, and the new-ball bowlers, like seasonal flowers, wither away, never to return. If Indian cricket has thrown up Sreesanth, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Varun Aaron, Ashish Nehra and Parwinder Awana, it means new-ball bowlers exist; but the mortality rates are too high. Currently the only people worried about that seem to be columnists! Indian cricket needs the alacrity shown on issues like television rights and franchise defaults to apply in areas like nurturing bowling as well. Without that, the No. 1 spot will never return.

There are many other issues. The A team tours, thoughtful in theory, are being marred by roulette-style selections. I do not believe any country can have more than 25 players capable of playing at the highest level; even that is a stretch. The best 15 should be in the national side and the next 15 on A tours, and it stays that way till someone comes to knock the door down. But there is no pattern at the moment, or if there is, it is a deeply complex code that none of us can crack.

By end 2013, India may be without the services of some or all of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni. If three of those remain, India should be happy, but it also means that replacement players must start finding their feet around now. Maybe that is for a new set of selectors to do. Whoever they are, I would love to sneak in and look at their notepads for a things-to-do list. I greatly fear I know what I would find on it.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 20, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    @Jay57870:Pl. do not Shoot the Messenger Harsha - He is merely stating the facts. What have the BCCI & the Selectors jointly done after the poor showing of the Indian Team to drop it from #1 to #5 spot? What is the real reason behind the Indian Team's downfall? You don't blame the batting when there is No Test Class Bowler in the Indian team. Take South African team - they have better Seamers + superior batting than England. Hence the over whelming 2-0 series win. Every Cricket team needs to have excellent bowling, Batting & Fielding to be the World #1. If they do not, the BCCI & the Selectors should put their heads together to see the "Big Picture" & fill in the missing needs of the team. Brits admitted their short comings at the Lords as dropped catches + poor top batting, which is true - clearly they admitted missing KP. I ask You Sir Why doesn't the richest Cricket Board in the World, BCCI, replenish its Empty Cupboard to meet the Team's needs instead of doing Nothing - Eh?

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | August 20, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Harsha - It's become fashionable to blame selectors & boards for stinky problems: England for dropping KP & public circus; Australia for shaky batting lineup; India for "empty cupboard"! Only just-crowned SA is unscathed for the time being. Dissing selectors for failure is easy, because it's the popular thing to do: Hype! But it obscures a stark reality: Competition's been fairly even the past few years. Dynasties are long gone. Upstarts have erupted: Pak in the top 5; SL always a threat & WI vastly improved. As the Bard wisely proclaimed (long before England's coronation as cricket's top dog): "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"! Watch that shaky crown switch heads at the coronation at Lord's today! Nothing to be ashamed of: The Brits put on a Jolly Good Show at London 2012! All those medals. So why not in cricket? Put the top 3 on the podium: SA - gold, Eng - silver; Oz - bronze! Spread the wealth! Spare the selectors & BCCI a thought: At least the coffers are full, Harsha!!

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | August 20, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    I don't understand why Ishant Sharma gets selected again and again? Most of the times I see him spraying balls around without any plan or target or troubling the batsmen in the process. I feel that Munaf Patel bowls more on target and ask some questions to batsmen than him.

  • POSTED BY vinodkumargb on | August 20, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Atlease I was hoping after all men Srikant could have served indian cricket better but oh gosh! he is serving temilnaadu and his son only sadly :( I think Kapil deserves a chance now!! but BCCI.... :(

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    @coolitbaby .................FACTS & STATISTICS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS OF Mr. XYZ.......................................In WC 2011 avg score against Ind was by far highest among all other teams despite all WC matches being played on Asian flat pitches........Statistically Indian bowling stats are world's worst for past 1 year with ER of 5.4 as opposed to 4.7 of Ban & 5.0 of Sl who also play on flat tracks............ @coolitbaby Now since ER of team is world's worst, that can be either due to lack of skill in bowling or due to poor field placements ...........Any kid can tell that currently Indian bowling skill-wise is certainly better than at least Ban & equivalent to that of Sl ..........Hence the problem must be with field placing by rule of elimination...Who plans field placement strategy ?? Ans. CAPTAIN...........Hence Indian captain is world worst captain in terms of field placements & bowling strategy......PERIOD!

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 19, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Piyush Chawla is not much better than a club bowler. Has a good googly and nothing much else. Zero control. Should never play test cricket as he is not a bowler of international quality (Bangladesh second spinners are much better). Ishant's problem is different. Ishant should play county cricket before playing test cricket. His length (and sometimes line) has been his biggest problem. Very few balls on a good length on and around off stump. Either too short or too full. Ok Irfan Pathan. Should not play test cricket, unless he is played as an all-rounder and 5th bowler in England, NZ, SA and Australia in only those pitches which are not flat. On form, Irfan is a very good ODI and T20 player. India must try Parvinder Awana and Shami Ahmed. You do not know how good someone is unless you try him. I heard Shami Ahmed was bowling 87 mph (140 kph) even in his last spell in WI for A team and was the only standout performer along with Pujara on that tour. Deserves a chance.

  • POSTED BY mogan707 on | August 19, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    The selection seems to be quota selection 2 from U.P, 2 from Hyderabad,2 from Punjab,2 from Maharastra(or Mumbai),2 from Delhi(+2 openers already fixed),1 from Gujarat(or Saurastra),1 from M.P,1 from Jharkhand.The selectors seemed to take no bashing from state boards.Other boards are satisfied by picking their players in India A squad.Selectors followed an age-old selection policy and bade good-bye(or rather bad bye).Merit and potentials are taken into account,performances are given next preference.Missing Irfan Pathan was a biggest debate.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | August 19, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    The problem for India, just like for SL and Bangladesh, is to do with the physique of fast bowlers. I rarely see naturally athletic fast bowlers in these countries, unlike in Aus (such as Lee) and SA (such as Styne). It is a lot to do with life style and diet - too many samosas - too little protein! Perhaps SL is better. But even there, good fast bowlers such as Malinga are prone to injury, way too quickly.

  • POSTED BY golgoal on | August 19, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    @Legend_of_All_Times You are probably confusing India with your country the MIGHTY Bangladesh. Just the mention of Bangladesh strikes fears in opponents hearts I am sure. LMAO.

  • POSTED BY Legend_of_All_Times on | August 18, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    I think Ordinary team India should withdraw themselves from playing Test Cricket for some period of time and should play against the Associate Members as well as ICC Trophy instead, so that India's Poorest Bowlers may have got some opportunities to grow their confidence level high enough to compete with Test Nations. Its really Harming Cricket Finance when Indian team go to England-Australia and send the Spectators back home from Ground by getting Defeated within 3-4 Days. ICC must intervene in this Issue.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 20, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    @Jay57870:Pl. do not Shoot the Messenger Harsha - He is merely stating the facts. What have the BCCI & the Selectors jointly done after the poor showing of the Indian Team to drop it from #1 to #5 spot? What is the real reason behind the Indian Team's downfall? You don't blame the batting when there is No Test Class Bowler in the Indian team. Take South African team - they have better Seamers + superior batting than England. Hence the over whelming 2-0 series win. Every Cricket team needs to have excellent bowling, Batting & Fielding to be the World #1. If they do not, the BCCI & the Selectors should put their heads together to see the "Big Picture" & fill in the missing needs of the team. Brits admitted their short comings at the Lords as dropped catches + poor top batting, which is true - clearly they admitted missing KP. I ask You Sir Why doesn't the richest Cricket Board in the World, BCCI, replenish its Empty Cupboard to meet the Team's needs instead of doing Nothing - Eh?

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | August 20, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Harsha - It's become fashionable to blame selectors & boards for stinky problems: England for dropping KP & public circus; Australia for shaky batting lineup; India for "empty cupboard"! Only just-crowned SA is unscathed for the time being. Dissing selectors for failure is easy, because it's the popular thing to do: Hype! But it obscures a stark reality: Competition's been fairly even the past few years. Dynasties are long gone. Upstarts have erupted: Pak in the top 5; SL always a threat & WI vastly improved. As the Bard wisely proclaimed (long before England's coronation as cricket's top dog): "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"! Watch that shaky crown switch heads at the coronation at Lord's today! Nothing to be ashamed of: The Brits put on a Jolly Good Show at London 2012! All those medals. So why not in cricket? Put the top 3 on the podium: SA - gold, Eng - silver; Oz - bronze! Spread the wealth! Spare the selectors & BCCI a thought: At least the coffers are full, Harsha!!

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | August 20, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    I don't understand why Ishant Sharma gets selected again and again? Most of the times I see him spraying balls around without any plan or target or troubling the batsmen in the process. I feel that Munaf Patel bowls more on target and ask some questions to batsmen than him.

  • POSTED BY vinodkumargb on | August 20, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Atlease I was hoping after all men Srikant could have served indian cricket better but oh gosh! he is serving temilnaadu and his son only sadly :( I think Kapil deserves a chance now!! but BCCI.... :(

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    @coolitbaby .................FACTS & STATISTICS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS OF Mr. XYZ.......................................In WC 2011 avg score against Ind was by far highest among all other teams despite all WC matches being played on Asian flat pitches........Statistically Indian bowling stats are world's worst for past 1 year with ER of 5.4 as opposed to 4.7 of Ban & 5.0 of Sl who also play on flat tracks............ @coolitbaby Now since ER of team is world's worst, that can be either due to lack of skill in bowling or due to poor field placements ...........Any kid can tell that currently Indian bowling skill-wise is certainly better than at least Ban & equivalent to that of Sl ..........Hence the problem must be with field placing by rule of elimination...Who plans field placement strategy ?? Ans. CAPTAIN...........Hence Indian captain is world worst captain in terms of field placements & bowling strategy......PERIOD!

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 19, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Piyush Chawla is not much better than a club bowler. Has a good googly and nothing much else. Zero control. Should never play test cricket as he is not a bowler of international quality (Bangladesh second spinners are much better). Ishant's problem is different. Ishant should play county cricket before playing test cricket. His length (and sometimes line) has been his biggest problem. Very few balls on a good length on and around off stump. Either too short or too full. Ok Irfan Pathan. Should not play test cricket, unless he is played as an all-rounder and 5th bowler in England, NZ, SA and Australia in only those pitches which are not flat. On form, Irfan is a very good ODI and T20 player. India must try Parvinder Awana and Shami Ahmed. You do not know how good someone is unless you try him. I heard Shami Ahmed was bowling 87 mph (140 kph) even in his last spell in WI for A team and was the only standout performer along with Pujara on that tour. Deserves a chance.

  • POSTED BY mogan707 on | August 19, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    The selection seems to be quota selection 2 from U.P, 2 from Hyderabad,2 from Punjab,2 from Maharastra(or Mumbai),2 from Delhi(+2 openers already fixed),1 from Gujarat(or Saurastra),1 from M.P,1 from Jharkhand.The selectors seemed to take no bashing from state boards.Other boards are satisfied by picking their players in India A squad.Selectors followed an age-old selection policy and bade good-bye(or rather bad bye).Merit and potentials are taken into account,performances are given next preference.Missing Irfan Pathan was a biggest debate.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | August 19, 2012, 2:06 GMT

    The problem for India, just like for SL and Bangladesh, is to do with the physique of fast bowlers. I rarely see naturally athletic fast bowlers in these countries, unlike in Aus (such as Lee) and SA (such as Styne). It is a lot to do with life style and diet - too many samosas - too little protein! Perhaps SL is better. But even there, good fast bowlers such as Malinga are prone to injury, way too quickly.

  • POSTED BY golgoal on | August 19, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    @Legend_of_All_Times You are probably confusing India with your country the MIGHTY Bangladesh. Just the mention of Bangladesh strikes fears in opponents hearts I am sure. LMAO.

  • POSTED BY Legend_of_All_Times on | August 18, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    I think Ordinary team India should withdraw themselves from playing Test Cricket for some period of time and should play against the Associate Members as well as ICC Trophy instead, so that India's Poorest Bowlers may have got some opportunities to grow their confidence level high enough to compete with Test Nations. Its really Harming Cricket Finance when Indian team go to England-Australia and send the Spectators back home from Ground by getting Defeated within 3-4 Days. ICC must intervene in this Issue.

  • POSTED BY golgoal on | August 18, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    @KiwiRocker Shame on you to be making fun of one of the most well respected cricketer EVER like Tendulkar. Your country Pakistan can not even dream of producing anyone half as good and your jealousy and misery are showing up here. And no need to comment on Indian batsmen here. Their class is well acknowledged by people who know cricket. Don't even get me started on Pakistani batsmen. I mean tail enders. The best you got is Younis Khan and this Hafeez dude? Seriously?

  • POSTED BY coolitbaby on | August 18, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetian Before making fun of Dhoni realize that your country's so called great player Imran Khan claimed not too long ago that Dhoni is among the best captains of all times. So Imran Khan is an idiot?

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 22:05 GMT

    meety I must agree with u that........Kapil was not the best but certainly a decent bowler..............Yes India laked killer instincts - India had great chance to win 4th Test in AUS in 2003 if India had enforced follow on..........they could win last test easily in WI as they needed just 4 rpo in a small chase yet Dravid didn't do for it.....& many such occasions when they could enforce follow & increased their winning probability....................I've mentioned in another post that the skill level of Indian bowling is not the worst for sure but it is the bowling strategy, field placements & dedication from bowlers that is really poor that renders India the world's worst bowling stats. resulting in wastage of Indian batsmen's great knocks & false perception of Indian batsmen just accumulators but not match winners

  • POSTED BY Ajayvs on | August 18, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Excellent points Harsha, especially on consistency in selecting the India A teams. Currently the selectors seem to be playing musical chairs with India A selection. Only 5 or 6 in previous A tour are part of this tour. Only people with strong chance of making it to the senior team must be part of the tour. If India A selections are like giving out candies then it defeats the very purpose of these tours.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    MR AHSAN ZAMAN. YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT THE DULL PITCHES IN INDIA IS ON THE DOT. NO FAST BOWLER WOULD LIKE TO PUT IT ALL OUT ON THE DUST BALL PITCHES IN INDIA. GREAT COMMENT FROM THE OTHER SIDE.

  • POSTED BY just_chill_chill on | August 18, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    @ Usman Pannu -- Of course you are loving it. You are loving watching your so called fast bowlers like Gul, Sami, Akhtar etc. being treated like a club bowler by Sehwag and ending their careers single-handedly. I have been told that Pakistani coaches tell their fast bowlers to bowl themselves and behave other wise "Sehwag aa jayega" :-)

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    dear usman pannu at least our bowlers have got ethics unlike bowlers who bowl big no balls to fulfill their urge for quick money

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    harsa bogle do one thing .u start bowling at the gulli level.if u have it in u then u will surely be india's bowling strength.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    mostly bad selection rather than complete lack of decent pacers imo. Specially the way Praveen Kumar keeps being treated after he showed his ability in england, and the way Ishant Sharma seems to have a permanent place booked in the team. Yadav looks like the best Indian pacer since Srinath I've seen. Lack of genuinely first grade spinners from india is surprising, I can't really think of any reason other than a higher emphasis on limited overs cricket ruining fundamental wicket taking qualities needed for longer format.

  • POSTED BY FLIPPER_99 on | August 18, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Well i just have to say that India has NO talent at all in their cricketing aspects. true they have a few good batsmen but those are picked from a country with a population of 1.2 billion people whereas countries such as SL, NZ , even AUS have a far less population but still have a better ratio for a great player than India. Majority of India just doesn't consist of sporty, talented individuals that can change a game. truth be told if India wasn't a massive country their cricket team would be much like the burmuda team or probably more worse

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    i have huge respect for harsha..........he is one of the best cricket commentators..........he just hit the nail on his head with this column i believe it is the overall culture of team India they think that wat ever opposition gets they can go 1 better rather then restricting them for something modest..culture has to change for there sake .............other wise we here in Pakistan r v comfortable in our arm chairs with a few new batsmen coming through and a deadly bowling attack the recipe is just rite for sucess..........

  • POSTED BY ROXSPORT on | August 18, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    I thought Abu Nechim & Shami Ahmed have promise & can deliver given proper guidance. Would have been nice had they been included in India's tour to Sri Lanka, just as understudies. They could have learnt a lot just by being net bowlers. But, and it is a big question mark, does BCCI have the vision ....??????

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | August 18, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Anand Singh-- sorry i forgot about the south african poaching system england have in place. yeah i think the national teams need foreign coaches (not all coaches foreign) purely so india can start playing better overseas. but maybe its the attitude or maybe the problems stem much deeper i dont know

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    Indias spinners are ok, and they hav reserves in the spin department that will do a solid job, Bhaji, ashwin and Ohja are all talented spinners so im not worried about a lack of spin talent, im more looking at the seam bowling especially when ZAK retires who will they play?? Umesh Yadav looks the goods if he can sustain his pace thru his career, im not convinced with either Ishant or Sreesanth and there really are no others in the works except Varun Aaron who has hardly had any game time so something has to be done!!!! Also Praveen Kumar is quite a decent bowler

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | August 18, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    I guess one of the issues is that everything is seemingly loaded to the shorter formats of the game.If you can be famous for bowling 4 passable overs then the need to develop longer term skills is not needed.It is hard to believe that India has no decent spinners but Ashwin does not look like he can manage much outside of Asia

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    hahaha... its not empty. there is no cupboard in first place. best paceman that i can think of india is kapil dev. a medium pacer alrounder...!!! i wish as a pakistan fan that it stays that way forever and ever... im lovin it. :0

  • POSTED BY WhiteMansGame on | August 18, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    why under 19 years old are kept for under 19 games? if Sachin was chosen to play at 16 in International games, why discriminate others? even Kohli was keep playing under 19 as captain who won India under 19 world cup.

    Sad but true, that India has NO talent.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    these days indian crcktg has strted believing in tona totka. chawla is lucky for dhoni so he is slctd otherwise i don't c ny other basis of his slctn. ishant sharma is one of the best test bowler India has ryt now bt he shud hav given ample tym to provie his fitness. i was expctng saha in the team for dhoni. dhoni has played more than 50 test matches nd he is yet to prove his batting ability in this form. nd he has already said he will take retirmnt soon may b next yr. so playing him in test matches is a crazzy step. where the hell is praveen kumar? he has done well in IPL, test matches in england. a gud 50 over bowler . he shud b in t20 wrld cup as well as in sri lanka. he can swing the ball nd the kind of wkt we saw in lanka in odi as well as slpl. swing bowler will hav gud help from the wkt.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    I have to confess that I completely agree with lot of points that Harsha has pointed out are ominous and so true. You are served with feast but you still not sure if that will be enough to quench you hunger. Bcci is in a big in dilemma. Wonder if they have a backup plan to replace sachin or even Ms dhoni i dont think so. May be we might still find someone to replace Zak and VVS and Viru.. so thats a good sign but still there is a big shoes that needs to be filled. I would like to believe that currently Bcci goes on select a team with already 2 players as an automatic choice Sachin and MS doni so basically they are just selecting the remaining players except those 2 in few months it might be one of them and all probability it is MSD who would be a permanent guys in that list. so this is leading to a insecurity amongst the rest of the players in the team so BCCI has a lot to work over it with the new selection panel coming into the fore.... hope they dont make a joke of themselves.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | August 18, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    A very thought provoking piece. I feel India's bowling problems are mostly because of fittness in regard to fast bowlers and lack of spinners with guile and control over their craft. The fast bowlers getting injured time and again points to their training schedule as much as the frequency of the games they play. We never heard of Kapuil Dev or Srinath or Venkatesh Prasad or Binny or Chetan Sharma or Madan Lal ever being unfit to play when they were selected.In fact Kapil played all but one Test in the 100 that he played without a break.The one Test he was dropped for was for reckless play.It is quite possible that too much of the gym is the reason for so many pace bowlers getting injured. Things cannot change so much.I remember Garner saying that he ran 2 hours a day and practised bowling 2 hours.Little else.From Yadav,Aaron,Shami Ahmed,Awana,Bhuvnehwar and Nechim,India needs to choose selectively.Also contrary to most people It is nice that Chawla is back. He could be a matchwinner.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    No matter whatever discussions/ comments / debates are done over the Indian team are made we will beaten 10 times over and literally thrashed /blasted out by the English , the Proteus, the Aussies ( even with their weakest team ever at present). We do not have bowilng which can take 20 wickets neither the teeth to face upto pace which combines short stuff & quality seam & swing . In fact of late our batsmen have lost the acumen to even play quality spin!!!! We will have some consolation win s though (only perhaps at home) against NZ, SL& maybe Pak

  • POSTED BY TheMysteryMan on | August 18, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    I dont think it is empty at all, but right people are not given even an opportunity. What about likes of Awana, Iqbal Abdulla, young under 19 spinners who have been doing exceptionally well? Sometimes board needs to pick a player and put him in the international team. Yes, they are inexperienced, but they haven't picked up bad habits from domestic cricket as well. Aaron is injured but he will come back. There are couple of very good prospects in junior players. Just pick them for senior team. First class experience is not always the best way to judge or find international player. We dont need entire new bowling attack immediately. Its about finding people to replace the existing good players or at least take away the burden of performance from their shoulders like our batsman have done. And look at the people performing there, its those who have been given chance into International team at very young age without too much experience at this level. Its time to do same with bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    But I think its about mentality as well. Look at players India idolised in past 2 decades. Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag, Kumble. Players looked upon as inspiration in Pakistan in past 2 decades: Waqar, Wasim, Shoaib, Saqlain. We love fast bowlers (mainly thanks to Imran Khan before above mentioned guys). India hy Kapil Dev, Bedi, and other famous spinners across decades yet they idolised their batsmen more. I believe, a kid on the streets of Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi and Mumbai wants to become a batsman just like every kid in every street of Pakistan wants to bowl fast

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    Waqar, Wasim, Imran Khan, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Abdul Qadir, Saqain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Asif, Abdul Rehman and a lon long list. Difference between them and the bowlers from across the border is county cricket. No bowler learns and master their strengths on unresponsive pitches.

  • POSTED BY allblue on | August 17, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    3) Take the 'A' team seriously. For the Lions (and u-19s) everything is set up identically in terms of preparation to the Test side narrowing the gap between FC and international cricket. If they get to full international level they already know the standards required of them. 4) Pitches. After last summer many Indian commenters here talked about greentops - but trust me, we've not had a greentop at First Class level for two decades or more. The ECB has Pitch Inspectors and if there's too much grass left on, or the ball turning square on day one the County are reported and can lose points for it. The result is we get good cricket wickets up and down the country. Look at the current Test - a bit of help for the seamers, a bit of turn for the spinners, some pace and bounce if you bend your back but good to bat on if you bat well. A good cricket wicket benefits everyone, including spectators. These four things have really helped English cricket, and I'm sure would do the same for India.

  • POSTED BY allblue on | August 17, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster I've spent quite a bit of time in India so do have a sense of how vast and complex a place it is, and know there are no simplistic solutions here. Still, the ECB has done a fantastic job turning English cricket round so here are some suggestions. 1) Establish a national coaching standard. Fund coaching courses for volunteers at the school and youth club level, and at a more advanced professional level for Ranji sides. 2) Help the state sides to establish academies where promising youngsters are well coached and prepared for a career as a sportsman. I've never been as excited by the crop of young players coming through as we have now, all beneficiaries of the academy system. Send people round the world to get ideas for this - we got most of our ideas for them from Australia. (continued)

  • POSTED BY Meety on | August 17, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @Ahmed Uetian - I understand the point you are making, however, part of India's poor win record in tests (even discounting their early years), was the FEAR of LOSING. I'm an Ozzy & remember very well in the mid 80s - arguably the worst Ozzy side in 100 yrs, DREW with India in Oz. India walked away thinking they'd won, as it remains arguably their best performance in Oz, but the reality was, Oz were poor back then & India should of won the series, either 1-0, 2-0, or 3nil! Check the scorecards, India were often in impregnable positions but didn't go for the jugular - that wasn't because of poor bowlers (the side had Dev). Don't need to mention India v Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | August 17, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    It's not the bowlers problem, its the pitches. I can tell you right now I wouldn't want to be a pace bowler in India with those conditions, you can bowl for days and not take a wicket the pitches are so flat. Bowling doesn't come with the same rewards as batting in India as well. The bastman seemed to be looked at as superstars, I don't even know what people think of the bowlers.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | August 17, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    @JerryV In your dreams!You could not handle even Sunil Joshi. R Ashwin and Amit Mishra are more than enough to make a mockery of the English batting line up. Even an out of form Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha can do it for us. We have not lost a test series on our soil in 9 years. That takes some doing regardless of how good you are in home conditions. 3-0 to England in India? I am laughing my socks off!

  • POSTED BY Legend_of_All_Times on | August 17, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    This is nothing Newer. This is long time since India has the Poorest Bowling Side among all the Test Playing Nations, even among the Associate Members too. Being Deprived of a Single Genuine Match Winning Bowler, India's Bowling Attack is nothing a But Source of Joke and Laughs for long times. I think team India's Bowlers should have sent to Bangladesh 3rd Division Cricket League for Proper Practice of some Basic Skills.

  • POSTED BY vincy4ever on | August 17, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Fast bowling is a major component of all forms of cricket. India has good fast bowlers (Umesh and Yadav) but pitches designed to negate them. Indian batsmen are in the main afraid of fast bowling. The mindset of the establishment are against fast bowling. So what do you expect. The comments posted her are in the main so much drivel.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 17, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    @JerryV: Being an England fan you can predict all you want. But 3-0 win for England is highly unlikely. India are not that bad by any means. There are ONLY 2 likely scenarios awaiting England in India. A loss to India or a drawn series. England still don't have the resources to beat India in India. They are weak in low and slow conditions. Their bowling will be negated by the lack of pace and swing in the wickets. And we all know how much Indian batsmen love playing in the subcontinent. You don't even need an invitation to make a Sehwag or a Gambir to score massive runs. However, England can still draw the series if they manage to take a good back up spinner with Swann. Should be an interesting series nevertheless.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 17, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    @allblue: Contd.. The trickling down of finances need to happen if Indians can witness better athletes in all aspects of Indian sport. The politicians in our country are more worried about their own greediness and selfish ambitions. Black money, corruption have victimized our people and also plagued sincere athletes who wanted to represent India proudly. The present selection committee headed by Kris Srikkanth is one of the worst panels I have ever seen. The same mistakes committed over and over by him and his panel. The immediate solution to many of India's cricketing problems would be to first of all lay emphasis on grooming fast bowlers with pace. They should be motivated to bowl fast and with heart. School kids should be taught to 'BOWL' and bowl fast. Extra incentives should be provided for encouraging spin bowling - India's historic strength. Ranji Cricket should be made a 'rich' affair with good payments for the players. All games should be shown LIVE on national TV. (Contd)

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | August 17, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    I guess Harsha Bhogle has conveniently overlooked the likes of Aaron, Yadav, Shammi Ahmed, Awana and co. The talent is there , but BCCI's muddle headed handling is responsible for the constant breakdown of fast bowlers. ishant, Sreesanth are prime examples of constant injuries destroying careers. Their fitness regimen needs a re-look. I would not blame IPL for all the doom and gloom. In 15 matches of IPL any bowler can bowl a max of 60 overs- Nearly as much they would in a single test match or 2 at the most. @Nutcutlet If I were you I would stop worrying about India and take a good hard look at the so called "No.1 Test team"team that was royally drubbed by Pak, barely managed to hold on to a draw against SL and is on the verge of being spanked at home by SA. Its only gonna get a lot worse in December. You poms are better off trying to find a spinner who can actually spin the ball, so that you can try to avoid the cliches' of past humiliations in the subcontinent.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    @Nutcutlet.......3) If an opener scores a 112 in ODI at SR 80 playing for Aus u would assume it to be a good match winning Inn......If an opener scores a 112 in ODI at SR 80 for PK it is a guarenteed match winning great inn (Anwar has played many such match winnig knocks)....If an Indian opener scores a 112 in ODI at SR 80 it turns out to be a match losing inn even 130 off 120 balls vs Eng in WC could not win match...90% of Inzamam's test 100's with same SR as Sachin r in victories ..Y..It is the bowlers decent bowling that make batsman's runs count towards victories & Ind always lacked them....This is not current story though. Ind always had great Batsmen like Gavasker Vishu but were never match winners bcz whatever they scored, pathetic bowlers easily leaked those runs to opposiitions' mediocre batsmen..Bcz of this unbalance Indian fans stopped looking for wins instead began valuing individual performance..It is the sum of good + decent individual performances that win games.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 17, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    A lot of foolish comments from some ignorant folks who know ZERO about Indian cricket. Especially some of the English fans and non-Indians here who are simply there to criticize a great cricketing nation. The state of India's bowling emptiness has NOTHING to do with the IPL. India NEVER had a great fast bowler other than Kapil Dev. India used to have great spinners but even that is now disappearing. India have ALWAYS had batting legends and will continue to do so. It's the bowling that usually wins you cricket games in all formats. That's our major concern. The IPL is not the culprit. It's only played 2 months in a calendar year. What about the rest of the time ? Even if Indian players choose not to participate in the IPL, will that in any way improve their bowling ability ? I don't think so. So quit blaming the IPL and blame the BCCI for not putting a strong emphasis on developing facilities to birth better bowlers for the country. It's frightening given India has a billion people.

  • POSTED BY gauravk on | August 17, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    I seriously doubt that BCCI is concerned about taking the Indian team to No.1 spot. The only thing BCCI is interested in is minting money and filling the pockets of its officials. There seems to be very little focus over development of cricket in the country. It makes me happy that the downfall of cricket will make people notice other fascinating sports.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    What BCCI should do for a good back up team? They are taken some initiative i think...There should be continues A team tour to WI,SA,AUS,ENG,NZ,now just concluded WI tour and the team slected to NZ is a good one.Bowlers like Buwansewar Kumar ( He can be India's Vernon Filander I am sure,even in the IPL he is touching 138 speed) , Shami Ahmad.But They can include Awana & Dhawal Kulkarni as well.And should consider Abu Nechim,Pwan Negi,Shahbaz Nadeep for the bowling spots.Harshal Patel is a good promising bowler. Ashok Meneria,MAndeep Sing,Unmukh Chand,Mayank Agarwal,Manish Pandey,Ambatty Raydu,Dinesh Kartik,Sourabh Tiwary,Abhinav mukund,Buvaneswar Kumar,Shami AHmad,Awana,Dhaval Kulkarni,Abu Nechim Ahmad,Pawan Negi,Akshay DArekar,Shahbaz Nadeem,Jalaj Saxena,Aashish Reddy,Robin Uthappa,Harshal Pattel they all are our fringe players and should get chances inthose Tours,Raydu & Meneria should considerd for the Captains roles.All the best team India. I have faith in these youngsters!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    problem no. 1 india don,t have comptative fast bowelers .problem no. 2 bcci or selectors doning nothing look at world cricket who is no. 1 in test cricket teams who have good fast bowlers be it india before now england may be south africa tomorrow & who won the world no . 1 test team in the world most of the time . solution lots of a tours with young & talented playes from there talented one's should be trained & in the with wickets & runs in ranji trophy not in ipl . ipl only ok for t20 selections

  • POSTED BY Cricketolympian on | August 17, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    If your top priority is 20/20 cricket as is the case in India, you will always be found out technically when you play Test Cricket. South Africa and England play tough competitive cricket from an early age, they also expose themselves by learning to play domestic cricket in other countries too, I remember Sachin went to Yorkshire when he was younger and he learned a lot. World cricket needs a strong competitive Indian Test team, however quick money for pyjama cricket is a big draw. Indian Test Cricket should always come first . BCCI remember this. By the way I am a cricket lover with no affiliation to any country. Remember Test Cricket is King, just ask Chris Gayle, KP, De Villiers ,Michael Clarke or Sunil Gavasker.

  • POSTED BY santhoo24 on | August 17, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    This situation remind me of some teams in American football. Some teams, the so called "offense power-houses" have weak-to-mediocre defenses. Last season's Clemson University and Georgia Tech football teams immediately comes to my mind. This situation is a natural consequence of the team too focused on offense that the defense team tends to think contain the offense. The Indian bowling (dire) situation is just a natural consequence of too-powerful batting line up. A follow up example is Pakistan's batting situation (they have too good of a bowling that makes their batting look mediocre). Had the national boards been smart, they would have a balanced tean, a la SA/AUS team. A stance (mind set) has been already established that Indian team is a batting power house. It takes a lot of determination and vision to make it to a balanced team, only then can we produce legendary pace men.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    There is bowlers like Parwinder Awana,Shami Ahmad,Abu Nechim Ahmad,Dhawal Kulkarni.I hope any of two will emerge as regular bowlers for the coming years if they got enough chances .And in spin department Shabaz Nadeem,Harmeeth Sing should get chances,Shahbaz Nadeem is having a beautiful arm ball ..But still where is off spinners and legbreak bowlers...all Slow Left arm orthodx bolwers...!

  • POSTED BY JerryV on | August 17, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Sorry folks, this gladdens me to no end. After KP's likely exit from our setup, I was fearing that we were going to get thrashed.

    I think that without serious bowlers to face, even Ian Bell may be able to make a go of it. 3-0 to England methinks.

  • POSTED BY RedShirt on | August 17, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    You got it wrong Harsha. The cupboard is not empty. There is no cupboard.

  • POSTED BY cric_follower on | August 17, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    Harsha. It is about the money not quality!! Don't get so worked up. Look at our status in hockey, we will be there in cricket in 10 years.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 17, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    @Nutcutlet : 1. IPL did influence a bit in selection things but is now far lower.. I guess people are wrong to see likes of Rohit as IPL wonders whereas, he has 60+ average in domestic.. I can see bowlers picked on domestic figures alone like Vinay and Dinda.. Plus, Umesh and Aaron for raw pace.. 2. DRS is purely based on the money they need to offer.. If BCCI need to respond, ICC need to come with some answers for the questions posed by BCCI.. BCCI have given their q's byt no A's from ICC.. 3. Needless stuff that is.. 4. NO team plans well for away series.. Even England had to go back to Monty for UAE/SL series and didn't develop a new spinner for that.. 5. Should agree that.. Chawla picked for luck factor is a joke.. 6. BCCI deserves the almighty tag as they provide the almighty fund to ICC.. The BCCI's arrogance not as bad as the previous controllers of ICC..

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 17, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    @landl47 : The issue is not IPL.. India never produced big fast bowlers.. as for spinners, we do have a couple in Ash and Ojha for tests.. You really don't get a Murali or Warne or a Kumble every now and then.. They are gen players.. Look at SL and Australia's struggle to find next spinner(Herath is of Murali era) and even Pakistan struggled to get good spinner(Had only Kaneria) after Saqlain and before Ajmal/Rehman.. @Nampally : They did provide Mishra the slot but he was not that effective.. And, Ojha is still one of the test spinner.. Rahul is a spinner with no real stock delivery.. His bowling style will be effective only in shorter formats.. We do have fast bowlers who can bowl well but without consistency and longevity .. RP, Sreesanth, Munaf, Ishant all have test matches for us but are not consistently fit and deadly.. We are not natural athletes.. Can just enjoy while it lasts.. Gotta live with it..

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Ironically, batsmen have failed India more than bowlers in bowling friendly pitches of Austrailia,England and South Africa.

  • POSTED BY allblue on | August 17, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    As an England fan I don't understand this, nor do I claim to understand the internal politics of the BCCI. But there are two facts 1) The board is the richest in world cricket - by far 2) India is the most populous cricket nation in the world - by far. If these two things were to come together India would become THE dominant force in world cricket. Their recent successes have been built on a generation of exceptional talent, now retired or close to retirement, and it is depressing to think that there is no proper plan of succession in place. Some heads need banging together methinks.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Contd..Further in death over lots of good balls by Indian bowlers are edged for 4's which strongly demoralizes bowler forcing him to bowl bad bowl so keep fine leg & 3rd man fine to protect 4edges…U should not provide same field to every bowler that u would for Mc Grath …every bowler should be provided field based on his strengths and opposition batsman's strengths…e.g Providing 3 slips to bowler whose top delivery is full length in swing is nonsense - he will keep being hit on leg side for boundaries and in the process will become discouraged & begin bowling cross seam & will lose terribly……Similarly Yadav and Aaron r great talents can get batsman lbw or bold with full & straight in swinging pacy deliveries…..They should be encouraged to bowl at stumps by providing protection on the on side, keeping mid on & mid off at the edge of inner circle & keeping short min wicket for uncontrolled shot…Similarly Ishanat is hit the deck bowler and should be provided slips & fine 3rd man & f9 leg

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    amazing!!! so many comments and nobody criticising Harsha. It is like Sachin has hit a century and India have lost, and nobody is blaming SRT for the loss

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | August 17, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    harsha you and your kind are similar to blame. when i hear your commentary on TV i do believe that what you say you think is the truth. the ipl has taken over your cricket and your supporter love of the other forms of the game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    The most imp step towards any improvement is realization of problem........ In past 1 year in ODI's Ind ER 5.42 is world's worst alongwith Canada Other Asian teams Ban,PK, SL playing on flat tracks have 4.63, 4.48 & 5 respectively, further India's death bowling is also world's worst....Y Indian bowling stats r way poorer than even Ban despite having more quality in Indian bowling....The reason is poor bowling strategy by CAPTAIN DHOBI….Teams with limited bowling capability cannot afford slips and attacking fields like with Mc Grath….What Ban does is that they do not place attacking fields but they dry up the runs by depriving batsman easy singles and free boundaries of edges forcing batsman to slog in the process he gets out bcz slog is a very high risk shot…similarly Ind need to place negative fields ….i.e. keep short mid wicket & short covers alongwith 3 more men in circle always to dry up singles & keep Third man, fine leg Deep point & deep mid wicket to protect easy boundaries..

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    Frankly it looks as if the selectors & captains r here to nurture their whims & fancies & give endless oppurtunities, match fee / other revenue generation to their favourites rather than picking a team. PIYUSH CHAWLA for sure seems to have inroads in the selectors cabins else with his more than disgraceful perforamce no selector would touch him from a distance of a 100 mtrs : the guy is a shame to the clan of LEG SPINNERS. BHAJJI : rember his interviews a couple of years ago where he claimed to surpass the best in the hisyory of cricket because of his new found / perfected DOOSRA ...am not sure whether it was DOOSRA TEESRA CHAUTHA or PANCHVA but they failed to get him anywhere : starts with the first ball way outside the legstump & a boundry. The lesser said about ROHIT SHARMA the better : A perfect example of WALKING LETHARGY..and how one can make u go to sleep while watching a T-20! To what extent can Dhoni take this DOSTANA remains to be seen ,,,,

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | August 17, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    hes only saying what most non indian on similar indian pieces of the last 12 month have been saying on here. and all we get back is. oh yes but the IPLs great. its stood out like a sore thumb indian players have become lazy and the BCCI have stood by and done nothing about it. i said last year that some of that money should be paid to CC to let some of their pace bowlers play 2nd 11 in english conditions were they will the chance to bowl decent spells, and not just to take the shine of the ball so spinners can bowl. your 1st class game is dieing on its feet. the game that your supporters love T20 look were you are 4th which is much better than you were. would the BCCI dare have done to ST what england have do to KP suspend him you bet they would not. you have let your older players play on to long and its dragged the whole team down and lost its vitality. get a grip and give your young cricketers the chance to make their way in the game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    @jonesy2:well,England has the South Africa school system at their service.All of that county cricket and 500 clubs are just for whiling away time as they wait for their next recruit from SA.As for the coach,would be great to have Mcgrath,but I think the problem is bigger than just coaching,sice we have had Lillee at MRF academy for years,its an issue with the selectors and the pace bowlers' mindset

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    It's true about the horrible pitches,and it ought to be a huge factor, but once cricinfo did a statistical analysis on the world's most bowler-unfriendly pitches, and guess what? Pakistan easily edged out India in being the very worst...

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | August 17, 2012, 17:57 GMT

    Harsha just let it go, you are born in a wrong country. Indian bowling is never going to improve so why to write these type of articles week in week out. Let it go Harsha. Until and unless India start producing fast pitches you will never get a legend fast bowler so write about some thing else and let Ishant alone. Please.

  • POSTED BY anshu.s on | August 17, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Here we go again, IPL is been blamed again for all of India's bowling malaise,as if before IPL we were blessed by plethora of bowlers crawling out of woodwork !!.Didn't we become world no. one after the IPL,somebody said spinners are darting it in instead of flighting it but isn't that true of any short format of the game and what stops bowlers from flighting it in Tests,Ojha and Ashwin do so in longer formats and i believe so do other premier spin bowlers of the world.Steyn and Morkel are good in IPL and also in international cricket.Please stop looking for imaginary excuses. Somebody also said youngsters vie for an IPL contract more than an India cap but who would blame them if selection to the Indian team is riddled with dodgy,controversial and farcical selections.Playing for the country is the biggest honour but that honour gets devalued in playing meaningless bilateral series,if fans and media showed enough interest in domestic cricket then there wouldn't be any need of an IPL.

  • POSTED BY Munkeymomo on | August 17, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    @jonesy2: You spelt 'Australia's' wrong.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    what u have written is nothing nwe in indian crk.the selection panel is based on zone wise .the guy from a partcular has push the case for guy from his zone that is the reason u find p chawala from nowhere.three best minds shld be made the selectors & they shld be made accountable.the seletors shld selectthe best indian team without any bais.we had people like surunayak ghulam parkar these guys were never heard of after england tour of 1979.

  • POSTED BY secondopinion on | August 17, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Mr. Bhogle got it right. Otherwise, why does Harbhajan get a look-in, despite below ordinary performance in IPL and now in English county? Even Dinda has been inconsistent, picking up tailenders does well for individual statistics and not team's win percentage. India need not look at Australia, South Africa or England. How is Pakistan able to come up with both pace and spin bowlers of class, and how now Bangladesh has two spinners who are way better than Indian spinners on sub-continental pitches?

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 17, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Although the fans aren't (yet) going to admit it, the IPL is now beginning to eat away at Indian cricket. This article refers to bowlers. The object of the exercise in T20 cricket is not to take wickets, but to restrict scoring. Bowlers seek to bowl negatively; they have no choice, since there are no close catchers to take any chances offered anyway. That's fine when you only bowl 4 overs and anything below 6 runs an over is success, but it is useless in test cricket. Bowlers don't try to learn to spin the ball extravagantly, because that leads to lack of accuracy and that costs runs. For the seamers, length and line is valued more than lateral movement. India is turning out net bowlers- straight and hard to get away, but not threatening. I see no prospect of this changing while IPL is king.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    Srikkanth's tenure as a selector has panned out much like his tenure as a Test batsman for India, which is a whole lot of nothing. Never improvise, never plan for the future, just bang bang bang for ten minutes and get out. He never had a stomach for a fight in the longer format and that is evident with his selection criteria as well. He isn't the sort of guy who I would have in charge of rebuilding the team. In my opinion he and his panel should have been fired at the end of the Australia tour.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    If you are favorite of Dhoni, How bad your performance (Bowling avg above 80 or batting avg below 10) also suffering from severe injury you will be selected anyway in the team

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Ranji trophy cannot produce great fast bowlers. Promising ones need to be sent to Australia to play in grade comps, Lancashire Leagues/County Cricket or first class competitions in South Africa with pace friendly conditions. Running in all day on a flat track is an exercise in aerobic fitness rather than learning how to bowl fast. The BCCI's protectionist policy, ie not letting indians play overseas is really harming the team.

  • POSTED BY IndianInnerEdge on | August 17, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Make pitches more pace friendly, in domestic, university level, etc, not only will this make it more attractive for any young quickie to pursue this difficult art, we will also get better at slip catching-as this is one area where india are gonna suffer after RD's retirement (assuming the oppo batsmen edge one, from our so called pacemen),& Puhleez...dont mention munaf/irfan/praveen/a host of other rans in the same sentance with the word 'Pace', as for Zaheer-over hyped, has a big attitude problem&good for his first spell only. This topic encapsulates the bane of indian cricket for at least last 4 decades, U would think that with the gadzillions with the Bcci, they would do something abouit this....but nah....and lastly, if our statistics&batting record obsessed media and public wake up and realise that to win, we stillgotta take 20 wickets, we will have an attitudnal shift towards developing bowlersin the cricket that matters-testcricket, till then-god help india in overseas tests!

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | August 17, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    the most insane thing that is just mine boggling is that with all the money the BCCI have why arent they employing foreign batting and bowling coaches like jason gillespie/darren lehmann

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | August 17, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    india should thank their lucky stars they arent in englands position with no batsmen or bowlers coming through.

  • POSTED BY 777aditya on | August 17, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    For all the scathing in the article, I wonder if the selectors actually give a damn. Experts like Harsha and Akash Chopra along with a billion fans are in a quandary over the apparent lack of acumen shown by Srikkanth. Adored the cartoon strip on cricinfo which had Srikkanth saying, "You never looked for logic behind my shots, why look now?!"

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 17, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    (Contd)- India has no plans. Since Kumble retired, there has been no attempt to develop a leg spinner. The Selectors chose Rahul Sharma & P.Ojha but Dhoni disliked them by benching. The Selectors & the Team Captain should be on the same page. After the "Tamasha" on England tour with injuries, Physical fitness should have been top priority - is it? Ishant & VVS Laxman walk into test squad with little or no cricket record in last 3 months!. Chawla walks into squad, out of shape, with worst bowling record. Fitness & performance should have been the top priorities- but are they? Fortunately Srikanth & Co will be out soon. MSD should resign from Test captaincy. Groom C.Pujara for captaincy + bring in Kumble, Dravid, Gavaskar & Kapil to replace the 4 Selectors. These guys can also head the bowling & batting coaching camps. I am sure they would have a plan, Vision & ways to develop an Indian team which will be #1 Test team in 2 years time. Select the right guys who can get the job done!

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | August 17, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    I just commented on Akash Chopra's column saying that If I were the selector I would have a pool of 30 to be selected for the national side and for the A tours, just like what Harsha mentioned. I feel BCCI has only one vision or mission - earn as much as you can! I cannot imagine how they are functioning. Inspite of being marred by injuries, look how Aussies or England are able to churn out fast bowlers every time. Replacing Warne is tough and Aussies were never spin giants. Forget bowlers Harsha, even Indian batsmen seem to lack the ability to face genuine seamers. Likes of Rohit and Raina showed that to us. There is absolutely no planning and BCCI is only bothered about the next IPL and not the future of Indian cricket. If IPL is the solution, plesae stop playing test cricket otherwise you will be humiliated by even newcomers. I am sure after the home series against NZ selectors would pat their backs. But defeating a dead tiger is not victory. BCCI wakeup otherwise cricket will die.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 17, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Indeed India's bowling cupboard has been empty for years. However I like your factual sub heading " Worse, no one seems to want to do anything about it". If India does not correct its deficiencies, how can it be #1 Cricketing Nation? The real problem is the India Selectors & the Team Captain - No vision, Goals & no Overall plans. Result- the weakest bowling in the world. India has a battery of untrained fast bowlers in Yadev, Aaron, Awana, D.Kulkarni, Dinda & Shami Ahmad to name a few.Yadev comes from a village with no cricket background but sheer talent. With coaching he would be great. Instead he is forced to learn "on the job". Rahul Sharma was in the squad 5 times but Dhoni preferred to keep him on the bench(at least in 20 games) rather than in XI. You develop bowlers by playing them in XI.You cannot have an Indian team captain(all 3 formats) in Dhoni - with no cricketing background. Forward planning, long & short term goals, Scounting for youngsters & Coaching are key to #1 spot!.

  • POSTED BY kharidra on | August 17, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    Cricket team has Bowlers, Batsman, Fieldsman. Selection Process redefines with Howlers, Hatsman, (S)Hieldsman. Mistakes can be corrected. But Redefinitions are not mistakes.There was an attempt initiated from big corporates to awaken right now with a call to identify what is necessary for a medals galore with emphasis on gold at Rio 4 years from now. There is need to debate with Committees in Authority to accept or reject a proposal. Likewise a Debate on Alternative proposals from critics. The adjudicators decisions can be further input to confirm and complete the process.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | August 17, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Indian cricket can draw on a huge player basis, and has enormous financial resources at its disposal. Surely it should not be difficult for the second most populous country in the world with 1,200,00,000 people to find young men with the passion, ambition, and natural ability to excel as bolwers. But look how India did in the Olympics: not a single gold, and performing considerably less well than such power houses as Grenada, Lithuania, and Ethiopia. Obviously, many Indians live in poverty and lack access to sporting facilities, but is it not time that the huge and expanding number of wealthy Indians, many of whom are passionate about cricket, began investing more heavily and constructively in fostering the country's national sport. The cricket world needs India as a good test side. The cricket world does not need a diet of ultimately tedious IPL pap.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    When we had good bowler like Srinath and a legendary one in Kumble we never gave them their due credit and now when we have nothing in our hand we came to know worth of them..Kumble was always a match winner but we never realised and what is more astonishing to me is ...we were rulers of spin bowling and now our spin bowlers are struggling to make their presence felt..the way things are going i am sure indian team will be having 11 batsman with al of them knowing how to roll their arm but not how to take wickets...

  • POSTED BY NLS1 on | August 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Harsha, agree with your assessment of bowling stocks; lack of spin bowling options is particularly worrisome given that the newer crop of fast bowlers are not demonstrating any longevity. If you turn around and assess the batting, it is no better - Tendular is fast fading into retirement, Laxman is probably pondering about his swansong in home series, Sehwag & Gambhir are battling mid-career crises and Dhoni never grew into a better batsman with experience (something that everyone expected based on the initial promise he showed). Net, Indian team is set to struggle against the slide into bottom four (in ICC test rankings) in next 6 months!!

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | August 17, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    As you say India seem to have had so many promising seamers, but with no one stepping up to the next level to become world class. A few years back I thought that Nehra and Sharma both looked promising and now Yadav and Aaron seem to look promising but are they beign nertured properly? The seamers of old; Dev Zak etc. went to the counties and other domestic leagues to learn their craft, and make a bit extra money of course, but now with the IPL the youngsters don't seem to think that they need this, they seem to spend the off season spending their IPL wealth rather than focussing ont heir development. You have to take 20 wickets to win a test match, but the really sad thing is the BCCI don't seem to care a jot about that, they only seem to care about revenue.. it's a sad thing when boards are not lookign out for the future and development of the sport as a whole, but this really seems to be happening.

  • POSTED BY indianpunter on | August 17, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    @nutcutlet, couldnt agree with you more ( as almost always!). Indian cricket is sinking.. gasping for breath.. no one cares 2 hoots.. if the 8-0 drubbing does not make you take hard calls.. i wonder what will. Srikant selects like he bats. No reasoning or rationale behind his selections ( or shots). personal Glory before team; that is the Indian team ethic.

  • POSTED BY CRICKETPOWER001 on | August 17, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    Harsha thanks for opening eyes of Indian cricket board, i always feel that if any team have good bowling unit they don't required so many batsmen... After ANIL KUMBLE we don't have any strike or wicket taking bowler either in test or one day form, once India was spin king, now we lot depend on part timers.... I strongly feel ZAHEER KHAN and MUNAF PATEL are good one day bowlers, they together in WORLDCUP have taken 35 wickets... i wish they both join again, its time to dig in and find some body like ANIL KUMBLE again...

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Exactly said, about Ishanth Sharma and Piyush Chwala. ........One of the best article...

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | August 17, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    I said this when India were being hammered in England - we need a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets. Our batsman didn't "fail" in England and Australia as much as our bowlers "allowed" the opposition to look a better batting side than India. Vive la mediocrity!!

  • POSTED BY cricket__fan on | August 17, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    Some of us have been saying this for quite some time now. When India lost to England last year - you said "this is an underprepared Indian side" and when the Aussies thumped India, you said it is because of failure of Indian batsmen to cope with Aussie bowling. The main reason was India's inability to take opposition wickets. India will never be a force to reckon with in test cricket period. Budding youngsters in India want nothing but an IPL contract.

  • POSTED BY chandug on | August 17, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have read in recent times on the Indian cricket team's selection blunders.

  • POSTED BY ste13 on | August 17, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    who cares about test cricket? in 2016 IPL will be played over 200 days (in a row)

  • POSTED BY No_Excuses on | August 17, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Simple. Indian bowlers are half fit. The pacers will not be able to maintain any sort of form unless they get much fitter.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 17, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    As an outsider, albeit one who is interested in cricket around the world, I am constantly trying to fathom what, I (with due deference) like to term the Indian mentality. I really want to know how the collective psyche that is Indian cricket's mindset ticks. The more one understands, the less likely one is likely to form rash & prejudiced opinions. Thus far, I think I have understood the following (1) the primacy of the IPL - because it manipulates the masses & makes millions ( breeding T20 junkies, like fastfood or sugar junkies); (2) there exists a reactionary view of the use of technology, based on deep suspicion; (3) the adulation of the individual over the team ethic - you know who I mean; (4) the lack of care or planning for away series; (5) the lack of any cohererent selection policy (perhaps based on some subtle Eastern philosophy way beyond me); (6) the almightiness of the BCCI. Tell me, someone, please - how close am I?

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | August 17, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Only legendary fast bowlers can take wickets on flat pitches when the sun shines. India has never produced a legendary fast bowler and probably never will. What India therefore needs to do is prepare fairer pitches. That will mean Tendulkar will average slightly less and Sehwag will struggle to get to 200. But the game of cricket will be better for it. And India's long suffering bowlers will have something to cheer about.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Well written Harsha. The absence of intent on tha part of BCCI stems from the fact that whatever be India's ranking in world cricket, BCCI will still make enormous amounts of money from Cricket matches in India. That is the reason why while India is good in legal acumen and all the other things that you have mentioned, our cricket and talent spotting is languishing.

  • POSTED BY vibhs2327 on | August 17, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    u hav hit the bulls eye mr. bhogle as per i see the condition of indian bowling its goin down each day but in case of ishant i disagree coz aftr zaheer who doesnt seem to last very long ishant has all the weapons in his arsenal to b the spearhead of indian attack and his experience can come handy to grrom new pacers so he can b considered but i dint get who the hell chose chawla as i see he is the worst leggie for india in recent times(far worse then amit mishra) and wat did pragyan did rong tht selctors threw him out of team just cant get it tht whre the hell indian cricket is heading in terms of test cricket

  • POSTED BY theswami on | August 17, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    I think the pacers who should be in contention are Praveen Kumar (he has been off-colour for just one series), Irfan Pathan, L.Balaji, Z.Khan, P.Awana, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Jayadev Unadkat ....

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | August 17, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    I think some of it is the coaching. Indian coaches tell Indian bowlers that you don't have to push the envelope. You don't have to put your body on the line. It's alright to bowl slower so long as you cut, seam or swing the ball. In Australia and South Africa, fast bowlers are told to toughen up or get out. Look at Brett Lee. He has gone through hell with his body to be the best. But he got there because of that. Cricket is like that. She gives you a lot only when you give her a lot too.

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | August 17, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    BCCI handling of cricket not only having an adverse effect on indian progress but also has had a destructive impact on the game as a whole with its financial clout brought on mainly by tv deals but now by IPL too.Its intransigent attitude towards DRS,on collective decisions by ICC and towards other cricketing boards are a lot to be desired.Its blatant abuse of power was exemplified by its insistence on Sri Lankan stars to skip initial matches in England last year whereas it refused indian stars to play in SLPL because for the preparation for bilateral tours.I'm sure these actions will boomrang on it very soon. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY NavCric25 on | August 17, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    India never had a good fast bowler. Most of our bowlers are average at best. Kapil is average bowler and zaheer may be a bit better than kapil. Spin is in decline every where, not just india. Indian bowling was always paltry and will remain paltry. Yeah, there could some occassional brilliances.

  • POSTED BY Dhanvanth on | August 17, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Indian bowling has always been toothless, especially in foreign pitches.. so its not the case with ishant..even zaheer has been somewhat iffy in eng or aus..the bcci have to train good pacemen who can not only bowl fast but also with a good line and length. ppl like varun aoran, parvinder awana should be trained in foreign-like conditions in india...until this happens india ll not be able to 20 wickets to win a match!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Jack_Tka on | August 17, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    This has been the fortune of Indian Cricket for more than a decade. Promising youngsters come and fade away as fast as possible. Umesh is the most promising from the current lot. Varun Aaron is injured more times than the number of international matches he's played. On the other hand, "Star" phenomena has gone into the head of Ishant Sharma. He runs in and bowls just because he is a bowler in the team, not because he is supposed to take wickets. Thats what I saw in Aus tour. Munaf/RP Singh/Sreesanth/Vinay Kumar/Harbhajan/Chawla are not test material. They can get wickets only when a batsmen makes a mistake on his own, which can happen only in T20 or 50 match. The future of Indian bowling is bleak and will be highlighted more in the coming times, within subcontinent itself.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | August 17, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    BCCI will not wake from their SLUMBER. BOWLING and finding capable OPENNERS are two aspects that should be priority for INDIA. We will never reach NO1 again without this. We seem to find MIDDLE ORDER BATSMAN in abundance. Since KUMBLE left we do not have bowlers who go out there and know that they can take 20 test wickets to win test matches. ZAKS is going downhill now with injuries taking their toll. We OVERBURDEN our few PACE BOWLERS. SPIN was our STRENGTH. Having said all this why dont BCCI work on players like :- ATUL SHARMA for bowling and ATHIRAJ SHANDILYA an openner? Take them under their wings and assess their potential.

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | August 17, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Its quite apparent that India's bowling cupboard is empty. When the cupboard is empty, the selectors have nothing to choose from. Ishant Sharma or Parwinder Awana or XYZ - doesn't really matter. They're all mediocre. You can close your eyes and select any one of them and get about the same result.

    The solution is to start getting better bowler friendly pitches and groom 'horses for courses'. e.g., Umesh Yadav and Zaheer are Test bowlers. Irfan is an ODI bowler. And so on.

  • POSTED BY Arachnodouche on | August 17, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Bhogle doesn't get India. We are a country of baniyas and entrepreneurs. Athletic prowess isn't in our veins. Keep minting money, providing a lucrative field for players from other countries to make their buck, but don't hope any inner growth.

  • POSTED BY ganymede on | August 17, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    The columnist has raised valid points for sure. It appears, even to the casual observer, that Test cricket is way down on the list of priorities of the BCCI. For the likes of @Lillianthomson, it is ok to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude, but i don't see England "thrashing" India in India at home later this year. If anything it is more likely to be the other way round. See you after the series, mate.

  • POSTED BY Fan1969 on | August 17, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    Agree with you Harsha. India's problem forever has been TEST bowlers. The shocking fact is that the spin cupboard is worse than the pace attack. Ashwin's penetrative ability has dwindled. He is containing the batsman in ODIs but is hardly penetrative. Still he remains India's best bet.

    To get Harbhajan back is just being popular as he cannot get any domestic wickets. He is at best NOW a defensive bowler with "yorkers" as his main weapon. The less said about Piyush the better. Why no new talent is being tried? We may see spinners take a load of wickets in the next TEN HOME TESTS if the groundsmen listen to MSD.

    You may be surprised but quality spinners from overseas have greatly succeeded in SA (Warne, Kumble, Murali, Swann, Harbhajan) unlike Australia where no foreign spinner has succeeded in last 30 years. On present form I doubt if we even have the spinners to succeed in SA (next foreign series), forget pacemen!

  • POSTED BY QingdaoXI on | August 17, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    Srikanth as selector is flopped, and i hope next selection commitee will think of a future and build a team, Its time too say good bye to Sehwag and Laxman from test and Zaheer needs to handle well, because he has still some cricket left in him atleast for next 3 years, but with proper training, otherwise his story will be same he will be injured more than he will play.It looks like that Tendulkar will also play till 2015, if he keeps his fitness he should play or he should decide the future of team and retire.In test they have included Raina and Chawala only on quota system and dropped Rohit and Rahul from test. Rohit should have been drop,but from odis and T-20. Ishant told before he dont want to rush in the team, he wants to play ranji game before he joins the team, but selector directly call him without match practise. They call Balaji in t-20 on basis of IPl, but neglect that he is injury prone, why they drop Praveen. Sreesanth is good bowler in test better than Ishant.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    A bitter truth...but it is a fact...The bowling is always our weak point, but we always had someone like Srinath or Zaheer. But now, i dont see anyone who can claim to be the leader of the pack. Infact as you pointed out, there is no pack anymore and the BCCI doesnt seem to be bothered at all. I don't think Indian team is looking to get back to No. 1 rank anytime soon unlike other teams in the world. No new ball bowlers, no spinners, no all rounders...the only one bright spot was the batting...but the two away series in England and Australia was a proof of how badly we can turn good things into bad and then to worse...Even with the batting, i dont see replacements for Dada even after 4 years of his retirement let alone for Dravid. And people want Sachin and Laxman to retire...Irony...

  • POSTED BY QingdaoXI on | August 17, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    We have battery of fast bowlers but BCCI is negeleting them may e they dont have enough backing, They have just started backing Umesh, but still they need to back Aaron, Au Nechim (Is very good bowler but he had played in ICL and so he is overlook always), If Abu Nechim is not getting chance and Vinay kumar, Mithun and Aarvind have got chance before him, this is just politics. Dhawal Kulkarni and Sudeep Tyagi are also very good but they need to groom properly and to groom them properly India needs to Open another NCA in Mohali where our fast bowlers will train not o Flat pitches on Bengluru, At present NCA is doing nothing and what has MRF pace Academy done over the years, if not NCA atleast shift pace academy in Punjab or Himachal Pradesh area where conditions are good for bowlers. And for god sake stop this quota system, becuase of this we will never have a good team. Kumble and Ganguly have also doing same backing there state players, but why dont they find others.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | August 17, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    India desperately need express pace not spin. Ishant looked like he had potential when i first saw him play Australia, whats gone wrong? I think the IPL is ruining their bowlers. They are learning to bowl too defensively and dont know how to attack in test cricket.

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | August 17, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Can't agree more with you, Harsha about Ishant's and Chawla's selection. "I don't know what is worse, the absence of bowlers in India, or the lack of intent in looking for them"---if hard-hitting words from such a reputed columnist doesn't provoke any action from the establishment, nothing will !

  • POSTED BY Sandman5five on | August 17, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    A well-meaning article Harsha, and there have been many recently, both from you and Aakash Chopra. One even from Sanjay Manjarekar! But all are pointless. Because the BCCI is not interested in the future of Indian Cricket (which begins end-2013). They are more than happy to milk the here and now. So as long as there is the IPL all is good with Indian Cricket. It's a classic case of overgrazing a patch of land will it dies for good.

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | August 17, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    There are no bowlers because the BCCI has fallen in love with Twenty20, as have many (most?) Indian supporters. This format has its appeal, but it is a batsman-focused game - players are lauded for a quick-fire 10 or 20 down the order, and strike rates under 120 are mocked as 'too slow'. The longer forms of the game bred the mantra that 'batting saves matches, bowling wins them'; in Twenty20, the opposite is true. Is it any wonder, then, that a body so enamored with this format should neglect to nurture bowlers in favour of players who can hit the ball out of the park? After all, that's what they tell us we want to see.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | August 17, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    "Not taking a stance can be harmful ... " of all the people ... Harsha talks about taking a stance and not a word about Harbhajan Singh.

  • POSTED BY 100_rabh on | August 17, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Probably too early to say anything on this but i think we are at a transition period where Olympic sports will snatch away some popularity from Cricket in India, and dare i say rightly so. I must admit that when ever, by mistake, i surfed to the channel showing India-SriLanka recent matches/highlights, i had this nausea like feeling. BCCI mandarins have a tough job to do, to count and sit on their hard earned money earned earlier as they are not going to get it in the same prportion in near future. On selection front, what do you expect from a selection committee being headed by Kris Srikanth, he did not think while he was at batting crease, he does not think when he is in a selection committee meeting!!

  • POSTED BY IndianInnerEdge on | August 17, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    Just about the best article I have read, on the paucity of bowlers, read 'pace' bowlers, leather flingers whose target is to dismiss the batsmen by disturbing their castle through an uplayable/difficult delivery as opposed to getting caught slogging one to long on. We just donot have a bowling culture, our nation/media spectators/followers are obsesed with batting records. Throw in bcci's short sighted policies, things like succesion grooming,next crop of bowlers, sharing the workload, improving the pathetic pitches, practice facilities-U could well be discussing the workings of the mongolian mafia-as far as BCCI is concerned. The thing to be admired at in Indian cricket, is that those few pacemen have made it, not becoz but despite the system-we still can mix it with the best in the world. Ourmedia does not help byhyping mediocore bowlers like Zaheer- little to offer afterhis first spell, Irfan-munaf-glorified off spinners. next few years expect defeats abroad, hope am wrong!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Well wriiten... You have brought out the truth....New ball bowlers do exist but they are not groomed well owing to the flat tracks and minimal exposure they get..!!Indian Cricketers should be allowed to play County cricket so that the bowlers may learn to swing the ball well and batsmen may learn to handle the swing well ...Or atleast some grassy wickets should be made in India to groom the fast bowlers!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    You should have blasted IPL rather than commenting on Indian Cricket...Because of these Indian Players who cannot even see the ball on bowling tracks, we hardly see any good match...all the scores go above 300+ this is reason why Cricket ODI has died........ see sehwag the guy who can play only on Batting tracks, virat kohli who can play only on Indian Pitches....Rohit Sharma who comes into form during IPL... Its a shame on BCCi, they have harmed cricket...........I hopw u raise your voice and let the ICC know the real problem..... Cricket is no more a game it has become a dead body....

  • POSTED BY 0Chintu0 on | August 17, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Why is Varun Aaron not being considered??

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    What Harsha is saying now about bowlers, some of us cricket fans have been saying even through the days of India;s #1 rankng (yeah, we were there once upon a time!) Barring occasional flashes of brilliance and skill, we have been using ballboys for the past decade especially in the 'pace' department. Spin which was claimed to be our traditional strength was shining by default *ever since Kumble retired and teh much pampered Bhajji had hit the headlines more often for non cricketing reasons. What was and is appalling is that BCCI had not shown any vision to develop a bowling resource pool and its adjunct - sporting pitches and fed the cricket fans on the spectacle of batsmen making merry in conditions completely favoring them. Unless we stop pampering third rate batsmen and treating bowlers as 2nd class cricket citizens we cant hope to rise to the top and enjoy a decent tenure up there. Does BCCI care? or even we the fans, really?

  • POSTED BY venbas on | August 17, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Bring on the Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Piyush Chawlas. For all the sentimentality involved, even Yuvraj should have had to prove his match fitness before joining the elite international level competitions. And I am not even talking about sporadic performers like Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan etc. So that leaves only 2-3 players in this Indian side who can be relied to perform consistently. This is what you can expect from administrators who have too many things to attend to so Cricket becomes last and least of those priorities.

  • POSTED BY RakeshRK on | August 17, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    We saw what happened to Zaheer last year in England without match practise. We're in for the same treat with Ishant. Last year in the mid of the tour, bowing out to injury, Zaheer was replaced by RP Singh, who was vacationing somewhere!! This time wonder who will replace Ishant? Going by the same theory, this right hander would then get either a Munaf Patel OR a Balaji?? None of them are match fit - I hate to say this but god-forbidden something happens to Ishant during the match which has high chances, Please don't tell me Dhoni will comeback and bowl some overs ... Pathetic to say the least!! But boy, hasn't he got experience in doing so :). Harsha - I may be on the same page with you on notepad sneaking ... What I found on the to-do list is .. our bowling cupboard is not at all empty .. see we have Dhoni, Virat,Purajara can pitch in too?? Time for some serious and right thinking cash rich BCCI. Plan it right and we know you have no problem in shelling out to support the rural kids.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    well absolutely true...i dont understand what is there thought process. Well its a bit harsh to say india has no bowlers. India has some good young bowlers but they fade away after u-19 level.Take this u-19 world cup for instant both the matches india has won are due to some good bowling performances. May be it has got to do with there physical condition after they get out from there. I mean look at munaf patel, R P Singh or even for that matter Shreesanth They all has good potential but injuries and other personal issues let them down. Board has to start paying attention to fitness of players form grass root level. Arrange physio and ask players to take proper control of there diets. IPL cant be a criteria to choose a test side. you have got to give importance to ranji cricket. and also produce some good wickets flat tracks are not gonna produce good players.

  • POSTED BY Ben1989 on | August 17, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    another good article, beginning to like your writing now after despising most things you've written in the past 2 yrs or so, it's a very true statement, I for one being an aussie don't want to see India fall away & just be ok in limited overs cricket, I want to see them put some effort in & start producing test match quality bowlers to ensure the next border-gavaskar trophy is a little more closely fought next time around, 4-0 is great & all, but 4-0 against a team playing good cricket is another story!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    We should play more IPL , lol .

  • POSTED BY Harry_Kool on | August 17, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Great article Harsha! I been saying this for a while. Where are the world classs bowlers from India? The sorry lot they brought to Australia last season were well below international standard, with only Umesh looking like he had a bright future. They struggled to get the West Indies out on their own turf last year & we all know how their batting strength was then. When the big 3 leave in the next 2 years, there is going to be a lot of pain in test matches for their supporters.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 17, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    You TELL EM' Harsha !!! The so called pundits in our country should STOP celebrating the batsmen. India will ALWAYS have an embarrassment of batting riches. It's the bowling that should worry the common Indian cricket lover. Our bowling is empty like you have said. Only Zaheer Khan is left and he ain't getting younger. We have many bits and pieces bowlers who are more suited for T20s and ODIs. In test cricket we need venom in the pace department and spin wizards who can spin cobwebs around batsmen. I don't know what the NCA is doing ?!! Where are the bowlers ? I am tired of seeing a young prospect who is a batsman. I wish to see an upcoming fast bowler, or a spinner or two. If India wishes to be a genuine test power, we require 2 or 3 good fast bowlers and at least 2 good spinners. It is not too late to start.

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | August 17, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    It was bad enough getting whitewashed AWAY by England and Australia, but this India team is obviously going to get massacred by England in India too. Number five in the Test rankings is grossly unjust: it is absurd that they are ranked above West Indies and Sri Lanka, who at least sometimes take twenty wickets in a Test match.

  • POSTED BY parik50 on | August 17, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    Good one. Its really saddening to see the standard of bowling in the country especially when you compare to the unending stock of world class bowlers just across the border. I don't know how much you can blame the selectors considering pretty much all the bowlers are club level - its selecting best of the worst - wont matter who you choose! More of a systemic issue and till IPL is there i don't see why any youngster would want to take up bowling! Its just going to be unending line of 80mph medium pacers and spinners who dart the ball in! Personally i think the selectors don't care about no 1 anymore they know its not going to happen and are pretty much happy to settle into the India team of 90s - just win at home and abroad results don't matter.

  • POSTED BY Narbavi on | August 17, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    I seriously wonder why not people like you can have a pep chat with the big bosses in the bcci about it, seriously!! our cupboard is not bare, it will never be, although i do agree that apart from ojha and Ashwin, we don't have a decent spinner for tests, but we do have some good pace bowlers, i dont know where is praveen kumar?? Vanished all of a sudden??

  • POSTED BY sdessdee on | August 17, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Harsha has conveyed the right message. our cupboard is bare with any type of bowlers wether fast or slow spin. bcci spends crores of rupees in various tournments and also have the coaching academy but one is not sure if it is serving the purpose for which it was establised. time has come to introspect and retrospect. the coaching methods adpoted by the coaches dont seem to align with the current trneds iin the cricket world. we need to have excellent coaches who can impart proper training from a young age. right from the young age budding cricketers should be trained the hard ways(jmay be the chiinese way of competing in olympics) so that by the time the youngsters starts playing under 12, 14, 16 18 and then comes through the ranks to senior level he will be well disiplined in managing himself and work towards high level of fitness.which is very important in the long run.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Zaheer khan should limit his cricket playing time. BCCI should throw player like RP singh, sreesanth in the NCA to train them, make them fit. RP singh is still 2nd best after zaheer, he needs to play more to regain confidence. I think they should keep rotating the bowlers, give everyone fair amount of matches to play and good amount of time to rest

  • POSTED BY pranab708 on | August 17, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Harsha, along with you columnists, we spectators are also deeply worried about lack of India's bowling. At the start of this century, the emergence of quite a few quality fast bowlers in Zaheer, Nehra, Sreesanth, Irfan, Munaf, R.P. gave us hope that finally India will be able to give a taste of their own medicines to teams like SA, Aus, Eng, WI. And for a while we did. But today the picture is completely different. And the painful fact, those who matter, those who can change things, i.e. the selectors and BCCI officials, they seem to be least bothered about it. Overall, the past decade has been very good for Indian cricket team. And BCCI also seemed to have made mostly right moves. But now at the beginning of another things are again going back to the same old ways. Ad-hoc selection, lack of planning and vision; things really are looking very bleak indeed.

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | August 17, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    A bold and fantastic article from Harsha Bhogle! India has no bowlers! Zaheer Khan is decent, but is on the wrong side of 30 and has fitness problems. Praveen Kumar is a good swing bowler, but lacks the pace to succeed in Test cricket in Australia and South Africa. Ishant Sharma is unproductive, Sreesanth is talented but lacks temperament, Munaf Patel has disappeared off the radar and RP Singh is inconsistent. Harbhajan Singh was a match-winning spinner, but seems to have withered away over the past two years. I hope for his own sake as well as the team's that he comes back strong. R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are acceptable, but not remarkable. Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla should never play international cricket again.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    I can understand the lack of fast bowlers but what I can never get my head around is the lack of a stock pile of genuine, quality spinners.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Harsha is right on money.. as always :)

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    Its a scary scar thought. It seems only u sanjay and Aaskash care... Is anybody listening?

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | August 17, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    Harsha for once has written a good article that sums up India's issues however i am disappointed to note that he did not touch on Tendulya's issue. I think it is a well established consensus to conclude that India's bowling is one of worse in the world. If you look at India's performance in last year they were white washed in England and Australia and did not even reach final of Asia cup. Now, mostly it was their batting that crumbled so apart from India's bowling, their batting is also rather poor. Gambhir is a over rated non performer like Sehwag when it matters. Tendulya should have been dropped long ago but Indian selectors would never do that. Dhoni is a flat track bulley who gets his helicopter stuck against quality bowling. I always been fan of Laxman but he is over the hill. Kohli has started well but its all early days. Rohit Sharma is touted as next Viv Richards but man is not even as good as Courtney Walsh in batting! I am struggling to find quality batsmen for India!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    forget it Harsha, India's already looking for it's next Kapil(read God) to come sort out their bowling issues. And what's worse is that some might already be seeing Pathan in that role. With due respect to Pathan, I do not see him returning to his 2004 form. And spinners are scarce all across the world anyway. India's no different. It's a sad sad state of affairs. I was watching the India U-19 tournament and there was this bowler who was threatening enough by swinging the ball both ways. Problem is that he rarely crossed the 120KPH mark.

  • POSTED BY krik8crazy on | August 17, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Blame the IPL for this sorry situation which was bad to begin with and has grown much worse now. The same IPL that you are big cheerleader of, albeit with good intentions. I think you love cricket first and foremost, and respect your unbridled enthusiasm for the game. Ishant Sharma is a pale shadow of the young fast bowler who made the best batsman in the world(at that time) Ponting hop, skip and jump like a rookie. When Ishant signed up for IPL, I was very concerned and felt that the BCCI had not done a good job of protecting him from breakdown. Having bowled on the dead wickets of the subcontinent and getting thrashed by batsmen all over the park, no wonder his confidence dipped and left him constantly injured. The damage caused by IPL also impacts selections in domestic cricket. Only players that have an IPL box office appeal or those with high and mighty connections will make it. I am not naive to think that cricket will be corruption free anymore with so much at stake.

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  • POSTED BY krik8crazy on | August 17, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Blame the IPL for this sorry situation which was bad to begin with and has grown much worse now. The same IPL that you are big cheerleader of, albeit with good intentions. I think you love cricket first and foremost, and respect your unbridled enthusiasm for the game. Ishant Sharma is a pale shadow of the young fast bowler who made the best batsman in the world(at that time) Ponting hop, skip and jump like a rookie. When Ishant signed up for IPL, I was very concerned and felt that the BCCI had not done a good job of protecting him from breakdown. Having bowled on the dead wickets of the subcontinent and getting thrashed by batsmen all over the park, no wonder his confidence dipped and left him constantly injured. The damage caused by IPL also impacts selections in domestic cricket. Only players that have an IPL box office appeal or those with high and mighty connections will make it. I am not naive to think that cricket will be corruption free anymore with so much at stake.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    forget it Harsha, India's already looking for it's next Kapil(read God) to come sort out their bowling issues. And what's worse is that some might already be seeing Pathan in that role. With due respect to Pathan, I do not see him returning to his 2004 form. And spinners are scarce all across the world anyway. India's no different. It's a sad sad state of affairs. I was watching the India U-19 tournament and there was this bowler who was threatening enough by swinging the ball both ways. Problem is that he rarely crossed the 120KPH mark.

  • POSTED BY KiwiRocker- on | August 17, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    Harsha for once has written a good article that sums up India's issues however i am disappointed to note that he did not touch on Tendulya's issue. I think it is a well established consensus to conclude that India's bowling is one of worse in the world. If you look at India's performance in last year they were white washed in England and Australia and did not even reach final of Asia cup. Now, mostly it was their batting that crumbled so apart from India's bowling, their batting is also rather poor. Gambhir is a over rated non performer like Sehwag when it matters. Tendulya should have been dropped long ago but Indian selectors would never do that. Dhoni is a flat track bulley who gets his helicopter stuck against quality bowling. I always been fan of Laxman but he is over the hill. Kohli has started well but its all early days. Rohit Sharma is touted as next Viv Richards but man is not even as good as Courtney Walsh in batting! I am struggling to find quality batsmen for India!

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    Its a scary scar thought. It seems only u sanjay and Aaskash care... Is anybody listening?

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Harsha is right on money.. as always :)

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    I can understand the lack of fast bowlers but what I can never get my head around is the lack of a stock pile of genuine, quality spinners.

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | August 17, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    A bold and fantastic article from Harsha Bhogle! India has no bowlers! Zaheer Khan is decent, but is on the wrong side of 30 and has fitness problems. Praveen Kumar is a good swing bowler, but lacks the pace to succeed in Test cricket in Australia and South Africa. Ishant Sharma is unproductive, Sreesanth is talented but lacks temperament, Munaf Patel has disappeared off the radar and RP Singh is inconsistent. Harbhajan Singh was a match-winning spinner, but seems to have withered away over the past two years. I hope for his own sake as well as the team's that he comes back strong. R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are acceptable, but not remarkable. Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla should never play international cricket again.

  • POSTED BY pranab708 on | August 17, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Harsha, along with you columnists, we spectators are also deeply worried about lack of India's bowling. At the start of this century, the emergence of quite a few quality fast bowlers in Zaheer, Nehra, Sreesanth, Irfan, Munaf, R.P. gave us hope that finally India will be able to give a taste of their own medicines to teams like SA, Aus, Eng, WI. And for a while we did. But today the picture is completely different. And the painful fact, those who matter, those who can change things, i.e. the selectors and BCCI officials, they seem to be least bothered about it. Overall, the past decade has been very good for Indian cricket team. And BCCI also seemed to have made mostly right moves. But now at the beginning of another things are again going back to the same old ways. Ad-hoc selection, lack of planning and vision; things really are looking very bleak indeed.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Zaheer khan should limit his cricket playing time. BCCI should throw player like RP singh, sreesanth in the NCA to train them, make them fit. RP singh is still 2nd best after zaheer, he needs to play more to regain confidence. I think they should keep rotating the bowlers, give everyone fair amount of matches to play and good amount of time to rest

  • POSTED BY sdessdee on | August 17, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Harsha has conveyed the right message. our cupboard is bare with any type of bowlers wether fast or slow spin. bcci spends crores of rupees in various tournments and also have the coaching academy but one is not sure if it is serving the purpose for which it was establised. time has come to introspect and retrospect. the coaching methods adpoted by the coaches dont seem to align with the current trneds iin the cricket world. we need to have excellent coaches who can impart proper training from a young age. right from the young age budding cricketers should be trained the hard ways(jmay be the chiinese way of competing in olympics) so that by the time the youngsters starts playing under 12, 14, 16 18 and then comes through the ranks to senior level he will be well disiplined in managing himself and work towards high level of fitness.which is very important in the long run.