India in New Zealand 2008-09 February 17, 2009

'Best new-ball pair in the world' needs support - Srinath

Cricinfo staff
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Javagal Srinath feels "the best new-ball pair in the world at the moment" needs suitable back-up © Getty Images
 

Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath has said that India need a capable third fast bowler if they are to maintain their recent consistency. Srinath rated Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma as "the best new-ball pair in the world" but said they would not remain effective if India's selectors persisted with a "musical chairs" policy.

"The third pacer has to be a walk-in choice in the team. It just can't be like the musical chairs as it is now," Srinath said at Bangalore's National Cricket Academy. "The longevity and form of Zaheer and Ishant will depend on what quality they get from the third seamer. Otherwise it will be case of what happened to [Venkatesh] Prasad and me where you bowl long spells, you get tired, and you lose your sting."

Srinath and Prasad formed a successful new-ball pairing for India in the 1990s but India still struggled, mostly overseas, with the two fast bowlers and Anil Kumble shouldering the attack. Zaheer's appearance in 2000 was a boost to a struggling side and for a brief while he shared the new ball with Srinath, the pair doing well in New Zealand and the 2003 World Cup that followed.

But in the past few years, pace has played a key role overseas and at home, proving that India are not spin-reliant any more. Since they have paired up, Ishant and Zaheer have become a force in varying conditions The skill with which the duo used the new, and particularly the old ball, played a crucial role in India's regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last year. Ishant has achieved what no Indian fast bowler has achieved since Kapil Dev in 1983 - he won a Player-of-the-Series award at home.

"They have produced tremendous results in the time they have been together," said Srinath. "There is no doubt they are the best bowling pair now."

India's selectors have picked Munaf Patel, L Balaji and rookie Dhawal Kulkarni for the upcoming Tests in New Zealand. Munaf, when fit, has appeared a strong contender to fill the third seamer's role. Srinath termed Munaf "a good prospect", and said he had produced good results at times. "All three [Munaf, L Balaji, and Dhawal Kulkarni] have done well in domestic cricket," he said. "But this is when you show you don't just belong in that space, you belong at the next level as well."

Srinath, who played three Tests in New Zealand, urged India's pace attack to bring the batsmen onto the front foot. "When the ball is moving around, you have to make the batsman play on the front foot," said Srinath of conditions that have assisted swing and seam. "Venky [Prasad] will be there to tell them all they need to know, but the rudiments don't change too much wherever you play. You have to make the batsman play, not allow him to leave too much.

"This is your time, when the team looks up to you to lead the way. You have to turn that added responsibility into a positive; if you think it is pressure, it will eat you up from within."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adatia on February 20, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    why not sresanth ?..i mean he was gud when he left hw can v ignore !

  • spinkingKK on February 20, 2009, 10:12 GMT

    I agree with Srinath that Zaheer and Ishant are the best new ball pair in the world. I am surprised that the selectors haven't picked a back to fitness Sreesanth to bowl in New Zealand (fast bowlers' paradise). Remember what he done to the South Africans in South Africa? I can't see this Dawal Kulkarni to be anywhere near Sreesanth. I have seen Kulkarni in the IPL and eventhough he was picking wickets in that bash outs, he can't match the quality of Sreesanth.

  • Dustin on February 20, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Last comments on this mundane topic. Firstly, cam_786…cheers mate, much appreciated. Secondly, to all those who have tried to use the stat regarding Sharma/Khan's higher percentage of top order batsmen…you fools - THERE IS NO ONE ELSE TO TAKE WICKETS. If you had read the article properly it's precisely what the deluded Srinath is pointing towards. As for Steyn/Ntini they have Morkel and the formidable all-rounder Kallis at first change. SA doesn't have to rely on their strike bowlers because they have class to follow! And please don't mention the disturbed Harbhajan Singh (he's an angry fellow with problems). Having said all that I would like to say I think the Indian team is hugely talented and I have always enjoyed watching them play. Good luck in NZ.

  • Kirstenfan on February 20, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    For all you fans out there who don't know the facts, but especially storm81 who needs some help, these are the results of series between SA and India since 2000.

    In SA 2001/02 - SA won 1 - 0 (last test cancelled as India did not accept ICC sanction) 2006/07 - SA won 2 - 1 (in a great series where India bowled better in SA than ever before)

    In India 2000 - SA won 2 -0 2004/05 - India won 1 - 0 2008 - Ind 1 - SA 1

    So really SA has done better in India than India has done in SA.

  • Kound on February 20, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    Firstly, it feels good that india has a nice new ball duo. However, i don't think Zaheer and Ishant are the best pair yet and maybe India's third seemer is making me think like this. Coming to the third seemer, im waiting to see the new kid Kulkarni coz ive never seen this guy, maybe he has something that india is looking for in the third seemer. Honestly, im not impressed with Mubaf, somehow whenever i see him i get a feeling that he could try a little n put in a little more effort and hit the deck a little more harder, i feel he lacks that venom or kilelr instinct or adrenalin, whatever u may call it that ishant has :)..... yeah, i like Ishant...common the hes just 20 and made Ricky (ponting) pee in his pant literally... i enjoyed that battle which Isahnt won. Maybe, I will be more closer in agreeing with Srinath if the Zaheer and Ishant help India win a couple of series away from home.

  • shovwar on February 20, 2009, 0:09 GMT

    This is the third time i am trying to post my comments. I donno if it would be posted or not. Well, with the new ball there is no question about Steyn and Ntini's abilities, which is far more dangerous than that of Zak and Sharma's. Plus they have a back up in Morkel. Zak/Sharma pair may be pretty handy with the old ball but they are behind the Proteas and the Aussies. I hope everyone remember what SA did to the Indian batting line up in India few months ago. I dont think India can do that in SA. Its all about winning the game for the team. And the SA attack have been proving it for the last two years. Lets see how the Indian batting line up cope with the NZ attack first. Then we can talk about performing in Aus and SA. Best of luck to them.....

  • sfnad on February 19, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    356 for 6 ! wow , thats great... i think we should do some research on other bowlers and see how good they have been. A couple of years back Zee khan didnt even had a place in test / ODI sides. anyway fast bowling has always been india's weak area. the best probably was Kapil Dave. I have seen him bowling in his best days, he was no really impressive in comparison to others of his era like Marshal, holding, hedley, lillie, imran, akram, botham, willis, sarfraz etc. and I totally agree inians are good at making a mountain out of mo hill. its not only in bowling in batting too. there has always been better batters in gwaskars time all over and in tendulakrs time but they will think otherwise. i would say Richards, chappel, boycott, zaheer, miandad, loyad etc were way better and yousaf, inzi, ponting, lara, jaisuria, sangakara are much better ... but they dont have an iconic (self proclaimed national) image at all. same is the case with this statement " best n new ball apir" .its a crap

  • cam_786 on February 19, 2009, 14:49 GMT

    Dustin - youre a fool. :)

  • storm81 on February 19, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    Look its simple really...SA and India are the two best teams in world cricket right now, the Aussies are 3rd...in order figure out which of the 2 teams is better, one has to beat the other away from home...SA couldnt beat India in India, India will travel to SA soon so if they can beat them the debate can stop, if not then it can carry on until SA visit India again...

  • DannoTheManno on February 19, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    Uh.... when was the last time India won a series outside of India. A truely average team. IF they beat New Zealand they will claim to be world beaters... if they loose... it was someone else's fault. This you can bet on!

  • adatia on February 20, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    why not sresanth ?..i mean he was gud when he left hw can v ignore !

  • spinkingKK on February 20, 2009, 10:12 GMT

    I agree with Srinath that Zaheer and Ishant are the best new ball pair in the world. I am surprised that the selectors haven't picked a back to fitness Sreesanth to bowl in New Zealand (fast bowlers' paradise). Remember what he done to the South Africans in South Africa? I can't see this Dawal Kulkarni to be anywhere near Sreesanth. I have seen Kulkarni in the IPL and eventhough he was picking wickets in that bash outs, he can't match the quality of Sreesanth.

  • Dustin on February 20, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Last comments on this mundane topic. Firstly, cam_786…cheers mate, much appreciated. Secondly, to all those who have tried to use the stat regarding Sharma/Khan's higher percentage of top order batsmen…you fools - THERE IS NO ONE ELSE TO TAKE WICKETS. If you had read the article properly it's precisely what the deluded Srinath is pointing towards. As for Steyn/Ntini they have Morkel and the formidable all-rounder Kallis at first change. SA doesn't have to rely on their strike bowlers because they have class to follow! And please don't mention the disturbed Harbhajan Singh (he's an angry fellow with problems). Having said all that I would like to say I think the Indian team is hugely talented and I have always enjoyed watching them play. Good luck in NZ.

  • Kirstenfan on February 20, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    For all you fans out there who don't know the facts, but especially storm81 who needs some help, these are the results of series between SA and India since 2000.

    In SA 2001/02 - SA won 1 - 0 (last test cancelled as India did not accept ICC sanction) 2006/07 - SA won 2 - 1 (in a great series where India bowled better in SA than ever before)

    In India 2000 - SA won 2 -0 2004/05 - India won 1 - 0 2008 - Ind 1 - SA 1

    So really SA has done better in India than India has done in SA.

  • Kound on February 20, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    Firstly, it feels good that india has a nice new ball duo. However, i don't think Zaheer and Ishant are the best pair yet and maybe India's third seemer is making me think like this. Coming to the third seemer, im waiting to see the new kid Kulkarni coz ive never seen this guy, maybe he has something that india is looking for in the third seemer. Honestly, im not impressed with Mubaf, somehow whenever i see him i get a feeling that he could try a little n put in a little more effort and hit the deck a little more harder, i feel he lacks that venom or kilelr instinct or adrenalin, whatever u may call it that ishant has :)..... yeah, i like Ishant...common the hes just 20 and made Ricky (ponting) pee in his pant literally... i enjoyed that battle which Isahnt won. Maybe, I will be more closer in agreeing with Srinath if the Zaheer and Ishant help India win a couple of series away from home.

  • shovwar on February 20, 2009, 0:09 GMT

    This is the third time i am trying to post my comments. I donno if it would be posted or not. Well, with the new ball there is no question about Steyn and Ntini's abilities, which is far more dangerous than that of Zak and Sharma's. Plus they have a back up in Morkel. Zak/Sharma pair may be pretty handy with the old ball but they are behind the Proteas and the Aussies. I hope everyone remember what SA did to the Indian batting line up in India few months ago. I dont think India can do that in SA. Its all about winning the game for the team. And the SA attack have been proving it for the last two years. Lets see how the Indian batting line up cope with the NZ attack first. Then we can talk about performing in Aus and SA. Best of luck to them.....

  • sfnad on February 19, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    356 for 6 ! wow , thats great... i think we should do some research on other bowlers and see how good they have been. A couple of years back Zee khan didnt even had a place in test / ODI sides. anyway fast bowling has always been india's weak area. the best probably was Kapil Dave. I have seen him bowling in his best days, he was no really impressive in comparison to others of his era like Marshal, holding, hedley, lillie, imran, akram, botham, willis, sarfraz etc. and I totally agree inians are good at making a mountain out of mo hill. its not only in bowling in batting too. there has always been better batters in gwaskars time all over and in tendulakrs time but they will think otherwise. i would say Richards, chappel, boycott, zaheer, miandad, loyad etc were way better and yousaf, inzi, ponting, lara, jaisuria, sangakara are much better ... but they dont have an iconic (self proclaimed national) image at all. same is the case with this statement " best n new ball apir" .its a crap

  • cam_786 on February 19, 2009, 14:49 GMT

    Dustin - youre a fool. :)

  • storm81 on February 19, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    Look its simple really...SA and India are the two best teams in world cricket right now, the Aussies are 3rd...in order figure out which of the 2 teams is better, one has to beat the other away from home...SA couldnt beat India in India, India will travel to SA soon so if they can beat them the debate can stop, if not then it can carry on until SA visit India again...

  • DannoTheManno on February 19, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    Uh.... when was the last time India won a series outside of India. A truely average team. IF they beat New Zealand they will claim to be world beaters... if they loose... it was someone else's fault. This you can bet on!

  • aditya104 on February 19, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    Ishant and Zaheer have been exceptional. If you analyse Hayden's batting, u will find that he had not been able to recover from the poor form that he fell into because of Ishant/Harbhajan and that brought an end to Hayden's career. Irfan Pathan should be given more freedom in Tests. He has shown the whole world what he is capable of with his swing. Alongwith Zaheer, he could devastate any top order in the world. Next 5 bowlers in order of preference should be RPSingh, Munaf, Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar, Balaji. Sreesanth is fast and can move the ball but he should show more discipline.

  • Dustin on February 19, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    Not sure why Indian supporters are having such a go at Steyn. His stats against India read - in SA played 2 tests, took 6 wickets for 114 runs at an average of 19. In India he played 3 tests, took 15 wickets for 303 runs at an average of 20.20.

    If I didn't know any better looks like your precious little team are Steyn's guinea pigs!

    And to clear up Steyn's performance in Aus, he took 18 wickets for 471 runs - young Sharma can only dream of a similar return in a test series...

  • aryaman1994 on February 19, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    @Swartshaun:quality of a bowler is not determined by his speed but by his bowling and by his performances. No disrespect to stteyn, I think hes a great bowler, but Ishant has troubled the best some of the batsmen including Ponting. I know his record does not show it but he has been a little unlucky as far as wicket taking goes. But if u see any of his matches, u will see how good he is. Besides, his and zaheer's bowls hardly ever go beloww 135 km/hr.

  • Dustin on February 19, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    cam_786 - Steyn gifted wickets…maybe you should be commenting on a ladies bingo game and not cricket…it's called drawing a batsmen into a false shot. Most of Steyn's wickets are catches taken behind the wicket…is it is his fault he is so indefinably quick and creates such implausible swing that batsmen can't hit him properly? Yes yes so Sehwag had one good match against him…whippee doo!

  • Dustin on February 19, 2009, 8:10 GMT

    Cricinfo most certainly only put up comments of their choice. I had no graphic language in my response, just the facts regarding Sharma/Khan and yet neither of my comments were posted…maybe it had something to do with Indian commentary, tea-bagging and hydrochloric acid. Anyway, I just wish certain people would give up on Mr Sharma's performance in Australia. He had one good spell and other than that bowled like another average Indian medium pacer. His haul of 358 for 6 is not what legends are made of!!!

  • Branna on February 19, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    Typical Indian mentality, always thinking that they are the best. Steyn and Ntini are a country mile better than Khan and Sharma. The statistics and the performances against the best teams say it all. They are also ranked higher for a reason. Typical arrogant Indian mentality, always remembering the highs only. Steyn is way better than Sharma. Faster, does more with the ball, and is more accurate. He performed better against Australia than Sharma and Khan did, and troubled the Australian batsmen more.

    If India are looking for a 3rd fast bowler the answer is Irfan Pathan. Leave him in the team and let him develop, he is showing a lot of potential and it always helps to have a genuine left hand swing bowler in the mix. He reminds me of Wasim Akram. He is also very handy with the bat.

    I don't think India will replace Australia at the top of world cricket either. I think they have improved a lot and have a well balanced side but I don't see them winning away against good sides.

  • Siddhu on February 19, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    We should bring back Ajit Agarkar into the lineup, really amazing bowler who is in form with bat and bowl this season...and of course an incredible fielder

  • cam_786 on February 18, 2009, 23:23 GMT

    Im a BD. Steyn is a good bowler...very fast..but i agree..he was gifted wickets against Aussies. And you all keep saying he gets wickets against BD, wat bout the Windies and NZ, Steyn got most his wickets against them. Pollock will always be better than him in my eyes. Ishant however against Aussies..bowled brilliantly. Zaheer Khan has to be the best strike bowler in the world at the moment, this coming from a Bangladeshi..

  • sfnad on February 18, 2009, 23:00 GMT

    I dont think there is a limit on number of resposes by a member ! but cricinfo probably puts up posts of their choice. I tried to post something twice but they would not put it up.it may be sarcastic for them but it was all parliamentry comments by me. they have seen the overwhelming response on this piece of news by cricket loving people " on this best new ball pair" thats why this news was removed in matter of hours from the front/home page. My res is "india can claim them to be the best indian duo ever, but certainly they are not even in top 10 bowlers. its a joke..srinath may be sued for hurting cricket lovers' feelings.ICC ratings for 2008-09 tell there is only one fast bowler in test and no one in ODIs from india and that is Harbhajan singh... and I said - kumblay has even bowled new ball, so if he could have continued he might 've been india's be new ball pair with gunguly or even srinath ! and india fast bowlers have a bit higher speed than kumlay's skidders !man Kmb was fast

  • tayabasif on February 18, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    Ishant was gr8 against the aussies and got bags of wickets i.e 6. Steyn was toothless and aussies gifted him 15+ wickets ........ Cummon India you can do better!

  • NumberXI on February 18, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Swartshuan, if you ACTUALLY looked at the stats you might be surprised. I did and I know you are talking rubbish.

  • NumberXI on February 18, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    Steyn's home bowling average is better than his away average, and if you take out BD, that gap gets bigger, becoming -5.56. His SR at home is 6.78 balls better than away (without BD). Contrast this with Zaheer whose corresponding numbers are 4.13 (away average better) and 14.76 (away strike rate better), and it makes it obvious that the claims of Zaheer being good at home are mere perception and not backed by facts. Ntini: -14.60 and -23.89 (home better) Ishant: -22.75 and -36.15 (home) Lee: -3.68 and -2.50 (home) Johnson: -12.92 and -18.80 (home) Clark: 2.52 and 1.80 (away) Vaas: -7.20 and -8.72 (home) Taylor: -14.14 and-20.59 (home) Flintoff: 4.75 and 5.22 (away) Harmison: -8.01 and -26.51 (home) Malinga: -0.88 and -1.67 (home) Munaf -0.64 and -1.10 (home) Sidebottom: -0.27 and 2.00 (home, away) While Ishant does disappoint, I think the perception of the performances of a lot of others do not appear to be based in reality.

  • ramm1990 on February 18, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    i thnk the selectors have done a mistake by dropping sreesanth.it was a great mistake.....................

  • storm81 on February 18, 2009, 11:49 GMT

    Swartshaun: I didnt say Ishant was better than Steyn, I said he has greater potential...Steyn got hammered by Sehwag in India and didnt trouble the Australia batsmen as much as Morkel...Ishant however was awesome aggainst the Aussies in Australia and in particular againsty their best - Ponting. In reference to our batsmen...we went to the bounciest of all wickets (Perth) and won...we went to England and won...any more doubts? In reply to DannotheManno - when was the last time South Africa won a series in India? It works both ways, they have to beat us just as much as we have to beat them...

  • swartshaun on February 18, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    Ok ok , all the indian comments have convinced me. They are the best "slow-medium pace" new ball attack in the world. This is only because likes of Collingwood, Chris Harris and Ganguly never opened the bowling. Ha-ha-ha !!! As for the rest (I mean bowlers actually bowling +135 kph and the few bowling +150 kph Steyn, lee, tait, morkel)the indians have no change. Not if you look at the stats, results, venues, rankings en what ever else there is to look at. India is a great team and have been in the past and will be in the future - and was and will never be due to their openings bowlers.

  • jokerbala on February 18, 2009, 10:27 GMT

    @ab_mcky ,dude say what you want about Ishant and Zak ,don't bring Sehwag into this.He thoroughly deserves the best batting performance award.He scored 201 runs of the total score of 320 odd against a rampaging Mendis/Murali duo and remained unbeaten till the end.As far as winning matches single-handedly goes it doesn't get better than this.No disrespect to Smith ,I think the only destructive bowler in England is Andrew Flintoff who is a quickie whereas the spinners(Mendis,Murali)can come at you all day long. Regarding the Zak and Ishant debate ,I believe they are the most skillful, if not the best quickie pair in the world,and they have a fair distance to go before they are called that.

  • thejuskrishna on February 18, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    Sir, Just a few questions to you and to the selectors! Why was Sreesanth not picked? And why Balaji in front of Sreesanth? Why the past record of Sreesanth in seaming conditions not considered? Why Sreesanth's current form was not considered? Being an Indian I would like to see India win the series and I don't want to see players regaining their form! The best combination that would suit the conditions their in New Zealand should be picked!

  • leomc on February 18, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    By the way people here is some study on these new ball pairs(for Aus/Ind/SA - I am not including Eng - the pommies r using way too many pairs cant collect the data on all those pairs..) - and since pakistan has not played any matches in this period I am not adding them in. Here are the stats...

    Pair Tests Inns Overs Mdns Runs wickets avge eco SR top order wkts top order wkts % Z khan & I Sharma 10 18 609.5 117 1902 62 30.68 3.12 58.98 46 74.19 M Ntini & D Steyn 26 49 1752.4 308 6246 228 27.39 3.56 46.12 142 62.28 B Lee & M Johnson 17 34 1403.4 269 4369 153 28.56 3.11 55.04 99 64.71 B Lee & Clark 21 42 1667.7 391 4755 201 23.66 2.85 49.78 132 65.67

    Now... The zak-sharma pair may be not as potent as the other pairs- but they are definitely better new ball operators -look at the % of top order scalps - So Mr Srinath is right on his money. They are indeed the best new ball pair in the world... Spot on Srinath!!!!!

  • Khundmiri on February 18, 2009, 9:05 GMT

    It makes total sense in Srinath's statement that Indian fast bowling duo are the best in the world as a pair both with old and new ball. They acquire good skills with the ball swinging it both ways, reverse swig with the old ball, good change of pace. People who don't chose to acknowledge it, got the absolute right to do that however the fact will remain a fact.

  • Khundmiri on February 18, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    No doubt Steyn and Ntini are great bowlers with all due respect batsman would rather face them especially with old ball than Zaheer/Ishant. No justification needed one need to only ask Aussie batsmen the so-called best team.

  • AnadiMishra on February 18, 2009, 8:33 GMT

    I wanna respond to suds69, I think u got diverted a bit from topic. As topic suggets 'Best new ball pair in the world'. Dale steyn is a bowler and not the pair of bowlers. So, please first read carefully then comment. And will see how gud SA will respond in their home series against Aus. I can assure you that SA will stand nowhere after this series with Aus. And whether you admit or not India are the best and they proved in Aus, and in India also where its toughest for a fast bowler to bowl.

  • chin2.amz on February 18, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    I think if fit sreesanth would be a good option....

  • BoonBoom on February 18, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    and perhaps Kirsan Ghavri and Madan Lal ....the ALL TIME GREATEST fast bowling pair the world has ever seen ???

  • iftekarkool on February 18, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    that's a aprreciable thought by srinath...but i think u left IRFAN PATHAN in the selection option... he has a tremendous capibility of turning the game... but he is getting less chances to show dat...

  • sfnad on February 18, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    Wow, Indians have a habit of making big statements. In absolute talent terms I dont if these 2 gentlemen can even come in the top 10 list of fast bowlers? As per bowling talent how would we compare them to 1.Mohd Asif (regardless of his current drugs related issue) 2.Umar Gul 3.Shoaib Akhter 4.Mohd Sami 5.Ntini 6.Brett Lee 7.Dale Steyn 8.Shaun Tait 9.Mitchell Johnson 10.Lasith Malinga 11.Andrew Flintoff you may argue that sami etc are not playing. but i would say he is better.remember the only team played with almost all non indian players in ICL was Lahore Badshahs. with all left out players from their nation team came 1st and 2nd in two tournaments. so look around Mr. Sri Nath there are others playing in their 2nd and 3rd teams doing better than these.it reminds me of the time when windies were touring india in 80s and a reporter ask Viv Richards " who is the best fast bowler in indian team ?" and he replied "Fast Bowler?they dont have in their team" KAPIL "is he?"

  • slogger_rob on February 18, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    Hahahahaha... "best new-ball pair in the world" Okay, that's a poor joke right? Steyn with Ntini/Morkel or Zaheer and Ishant, which pair would you rather face? While the Indian pair are very good and surely one of the best, they pale in comparison to a South African pair, heck even Ntini and Morkel would be a better combination - Steyn at first change. I just think that Srinath got ahead of himself simply as India are in the best position, when it comes to pace bowling, that they have been in years if not ever.

  • Sanj747 on February 18, 2009, 5:15 GMT

    Best new ball pair in the world. A bold statement. I think the South Africans have the best new ball pair in the world. If India does have the best new ball pair in the world why didn't they beat SA at home in India last year and why did they lose in Sri Lanka in the test series. Being the best is all about winning against all teams. They are yet to prove they are the best.

  • lobster_man on February 18, 2009, 4:32 GMT

    i guess Srinath wants to be the 3rd one.

  • lobster_man on February 18, 2009, 4:32 GMT

    i guess Srinath wants to be the 3rd one.

  • lobster_man on February 18, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    Ntini and Steyn - heard of them Srinath? or Patriotism made you blind??

  • Rizziee on February 18, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    "The world" means not only India Mr. Srinath

  • micky1981 on February 18, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    Learn to give credit guys....it was the Indian seam attack that initiated Australia's decline and then rest of the world started feeding on...so think before calling someone biased...because it might look as if you are the one who is bias..Ishant Sharma won the man of the series award on a while playing on flat batsman friendly subcontinent wickets....now that's a feat Steyn or Ntini has not achieved...I saw one more biased comment saying Sehwag winning an award while batting on flat wickets...so as Steyn and Ntini has achieved their feats while bowling on seaming wickets...and you guys wait and see what sehwag in company is gonna do to the rest in any part of the world...I just want to make a point that give credit for performance...now as India initiated Australia's decline, they will initiate South Africa's decline as well...

  • sansean on February 18, 2009, 2:53 GMT

    getting back to the topic, yes a steady third seamer is needed and the prospect dont exactly look good, munaf is too fragile, the rookie doesnt have pace, balaji has lost pace and most importantly the accuracy he was knwn for, dunno wht is being done wth RP Singh.

    PS. those cmenting about srinath's calibre need to chk hi stats and also those who sd he was too slow i guess never watched cricket, he had decent pace consistently bowling abve 140kph,and his statement about him and prasad was to an extent right eventhough i still say prasad was a spinner with a long runup, i rem jayasuriya destroying him by walking down the pitch.

  • Deopurkar on February 18, 2009, 1:42 GMT

    Funny to see Srinath advising them to "Pitch it up". It took Srinath about 12 years during his career to figure that out. :-)

  • AB_mcky on February 18, 2009, 1:06 GMT

    Cricinfo is run by Indians. Obviously alot of people hitting the site are from Asia. Its no wonder that there will be mild bias towards Indian players even if they perform mediocre'ly. I always believed that is the reason why Sehwag got Cricinfo award instead of Graeme Smith's 154 @ Edgbagston with a broken arm. Mind you Sehwag's innings was on flat pitches of subcontinent where even a tail ender can score a 50. Coming to the topic of Ishant/Zaheer being the best in the world, I think if you take Srinath aside and ask him the same question, he would not say the same. He probably did to make these kids feel better. I totally agree Zaheer is a good bowler but Ishant has hardly been like a wicket taking bowler which is reflected in 40 wickets after 15 tests. Perhaps Zaheer and RP sigh would be a better combo because of RP's ability to swing which the new kid can hardly do. Ishant i someone who is more or less, perhaps little lesser than Morne Morkel. In my opinion, India is after SA/AUS.

  • huzi29 on February 17, 2009, 23:41 GMT

    @sumit_jb007: Mate Sri has said they are the best bowling pair now, now being the keyword here..please read the article carefully before posting needless comments....and yes I do have no doubt in my mind that they should stop experimenting, we have had a slew of bowlers in the recent times such as Sreeshanth, RP Singh, Balaji, etc...I think its time we made changes to make it a three pronged attack rather than a two pronged one....

  • drajwani on February 17, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    you have to play musical chairs till proven the best one to take the 3rd spot. Munaf is good when seaming conditions are there, not been too consistent. Balaji is just returning, Shreesanth was injured and will be in reckoning soon. i don't see the selectors doing anything wrong, also Mr Srinath, if selectors and not reviewing their player choices after every series, why the hell will the domestic participation be at a high level, only if you know your effort will be rewarded will you try hard every time.

    also sk123 i totally agree with your analogy with Dale Steyn

  • Kirstenfan on February 17, 2009, 19:50 GMT

    ski123 - you're completely wrong! Look at Statsguru, let me know if you need help on how to use it because it's really simple - 58% of Steyn's wickets are in the top 6. 68% of Sharma's are. But he only has 44 wickets which is barely enough to be significant. But I'm sure he'll improve as he gets older and more mature...or breaks down and never bowls again. Shame.

  • Kirstenfan on February 17, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    Look Srinath and Zaheer are capable but best in the world - come on!!!! Steyn and anyone else are better than those 2! For everyone defending India's record away from home - you're all wrong they don't merit a mention. Only winge about poor umpiring and don't respect authority - remember when they wouldn't play a test in SA because they rejected the umpire? Bring them to SA again we'll chow them once more!

  • HasanMobeen on February 17, 2009, 19:10 GMT

    "Best new-ball pair in the world" hahahahaha.... Thats funny....

  • Nadeem1976 on February 17, 2009, 19:07 GMT

    I dont agree with the editor that Zaheer and ishant are best fast bowling pair in the world.

    Dale Stayn Took 74 wickets in 2008 year with avg of 20 (Too Good) Nitini Took 54 wickets in 2008 year with avg of 28 (Average)

    Zaheer took 36 wickets with avg of 36 (Bad) Ishant took 38 wickets with avg of 31 (Less than Average)

    Here we are comparing 128 wickets by SA bowlers and 72 wickets by Indian bowlers.

    Difference is totaly clear without doubt that SA pair is best in world without any doubt.

  • SamRoy on February 17, 2009, 18:57 GMT

    Well Indians have this habit of making a mountain out of a mole hill. Just because Zaheer and Ishant have the ability to swing the ball both ways with both conventional and reverse which no other bowler in world cricket can do right now doesnot make them the best new ball pairing in the world. In test match cricket there is more to bowling than your ability with the ball. The biggest thing is control which neither of them have. Otherwise Wasim Akram who had the greatest repertoire of unplayable deliveries woould have been the greatest fast bowler ever (at least better than Marshall, Hadlee and Mcgrath the best 3 in the last 25 years). Surely this is something Javagal Srinath knows. And I dont know any reason why Sreesanth and RP Singh werent picked for NZ tour. They are far better test bowlers than Balaji (who bowls around 77-80 mph nowadays) and the cavalier Munaf Patel (who has an attitude not fit for test cricket).

  • sumit_jb007 on February 17, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    @mezrg "Just because they have one good season, it does not qualify the claim"

    A season?!!!! This changes on a month-by-month basis, mate! Sri didn't call them the all-time best pair... Even the mention of Ambrose/Walsh or Wasim/Younis is needless here!

    @DannoTheManno: Kindly tone your comments down a little... Thank you!

  • ChinmayD on February 17, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    I think Dhawal Kulkarni would be a great first change bowler if given the chance. Doesn't have too much pace, but he puts the ball in the right areas. He can be very successful.

  • sk123 on February 17, 2009, 17:56 GMT

    Dale Steyn has a good strike rate/avg. because he preys on the lower order batsmen. His batsmen to bowler wicket ratio isn't that great, if you really care to look. 60% of his wickets are that of tail-enders. It was no different in India where out of his 15 wickets only 6 were of top-order batsmen. He got Harbhajan 4 times, R P Singh 3 times, Sreesanth and Kumble a couple of times. As Geoff Boycott would say, even my grandma would have a good avg bowling against them. Compared to that, 74% of Ishanth's victims are top order batsmen (wicketkeepers included). Personally, I would prefer a bowler who is good at getting me a Ponting wickets than one who is good at getting Harbhajan out, but that is just me.

  • emarald on February 17, 2009, 17:27 GMT

    some of u mentioned about wasim/waqar and ambrose/walsh.for them ,read the article once more..about zaheer/ishant,this pair caused tremendous trouble for aussies and england in lifeless pitches of india...look what will they do in the wickets which are having something for fast bowlers..about srinath/prasad,srinath concerned only about the indian bowlers.they are the only fast bowling pair for india which had some success in the past fifteen years...about saf, they are not hunting in pairs..steyn does most of the hunting..therefore,zaheer/ishant are the BEST NEW BALL AS WELL AS OLD BALL "PAIR" now..

  • vakkaraju on February 17, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    The title of the best is something should be reserved to those who have proven consistently under different conditions, When Srinath calls Zaheer and Ishant the best he has incorporated his own assesment of their calibre, and his prediction of their potential. To argue that other pairs have achieved better is fine but then we are comparing different parameters. we have to wait a few more series and then this discussion can be really performance oriented.

  • sejpal on February 17, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    Just like to say to mr farhandon,first of all pakistani crickers are only good at offield activities.Taking banned substances,fighting with thier own board,mysteriously injured most of the time and even choosing icl and ipl over their own country,you know why??cos of people like you who live in disney land and are so obssesed with your own country that you can't accept that other countries are doing so much better and you guys are going backwards .may be you should wake up and realise it's not 80's anymore and join the modern way of life and cricket.

  • aadirag on February 17, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    TO me the most simple way of judging pace pairs are -comparing their stats with the opposition pair on a specific match by match basis.Simple,in the 4 tests that the aussies played here,what were the indian pair's figures & what were the aussie pair's corrsponding figures.What I'm saying is ,let it be a 2 on 2 shoot-out.It's clear that Punjabi bahman-Sharma & Mumbai Pathan-Khan outbowled not only the aussie pace attack but also the England pace attack.Who here is willing to put their neck on the line & predict the kiwi pace attack outbowling the Sharma-Khan pair??Exactly.I don't think anyone could be that daft.India is a fantastic team & if they were to play chunnu-munnus like England & NewZealand as regularly as the aussies do then I can only Imagine how inflated their records would be.Aussies play 10 test games against poor lil England every 3 years,& also play the Kiwis regularly.India doesn't play against these champak teams that often else they'd be no.1 already.

  • arian77 on February 17, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    arg_is_back....you talk about my cricket knowledge...chk your's first...when was the last time you watched brett lee tearing apart an opponent team?he totally broke down in India, and didnt complete the test series with south africa.We all watched Mitchell Johnson's credentials v/s India and against South Africa in the ODI's. The only good spell he had was in the first test versus SA where he took 8 wickets on a Perth pitch.Lee is not even in the Test squad visiting SA and Johnson was torn apart in the ODI's vs SA in Australia.Steyn is the only bowler is great form but Ntini looks past his prime. Who else have you got Arg??Looks like you need to refresh your cricketing knowledge. Watch some live action and not comment with the highlights you watch....

  • KishoreSharma on February 17, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    I think the relevant point here is that, during the tenure of Srinath and Prasad, India did not have a spinner capable of taking wickets overseas. Kumble only started taking wickets in a consistent manner outside India from around 2002. Before then he was toothless abroad and this put tremendous pressure on Srinath and Prasad. With respect to musical chairs with the third seamer - even Australia have gone through this. For a while, it was either Kasprowicz or Fleming or Reifel etc. All of them were good bowlers but not a definite walk-in. The crucial difference though is that Australia had a world class spinner, capable of taking wickets everywhere, to support McGrath and Gillespie. This is what India missed - on overseas tours - during the 1990s.

  • Slade on February 17, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    Let's see, India have won 1 test in 12 in SA. SA recently became the first team to beat Australia in a test series in Australia in 16 years. A couple of points separate SA and Australia on the ICC rankings. Once SA reach the top, India will have to beat SA in SA to lay claims to be the best. SA is more likely to beat India in India because the slow and low pitches the Indians prepare no longer hold any daunting prospects for South African batsmen and their quickies learned to bowl much better on these wickets.Take Tendulkar for instance that averages only 28 against SA in India. Sehwag has an average of 70 odd against SA in India and is the best Indian batsman by far against SA in India. By comparison, the Indian batsmen looked totally out of sorts against SA bowling on SA wickets, take Sehwag, his average tumbles from 70 odd in India to 26 in SA with only Laxman and Tendulkar slightly improving on home averages. Tendulkar however has 3 centuries in 22 innings in SA, hardly inspiring..

  • umangsagar on February 17, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    I respect Srinath's opinion but feel the Indian pair are right up there, still a bit distant, South African pair as of now seem better to me. However for the choice of 3rd seamer, I would opt for Sreesanth too, for 1 good reason: Zaheer is one of the best left arm bowler currently in the world without any doubt. Ishant has a deadly In-swinger with raw pace. Sreesanth will be a good fit as he has a deadly Out_swinger. He will bring the variety. This is what i would choose, though R.P. Singh is a really good bowler and given the conditions I will choose Sreesanth ahead for the reason mentioned above, Variety. Munaf impressed a lot with his disciplined bowling but on current bowling form, he is way behind ishant or zaheer.

  • tayabasif on February 17, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    Why do all the people who are bragging about sehwag hitting Steyn out of the park seem to forget about the next test. Well that same guy named Steyn was responsible for India's most humiliating defeat in their home country. Now as far as comparison of Steyn's and Sharma's performances in Australia is concerned, hum let see: He took 18 wickets in 3 tests with S. rate of 43 and average of 26. Where as Mr Sharma took 6 wickets at average of around 60 and S. rate of wait for it ..................................101. TA DA Shall I say more. P.S: I don't think Ishant and Zaheer are even amongst top five pace bowlers in tests. I understand that India may finally have found some Medium or "say" fast bowlers that can sell pepsi, but serioulsy, when I read the headline I thought it was another article from Mr. Andy Zaltsman. But three cheers for Mr Srinath for providing us with some comic relief. I think that guy can write the story of a bollywood movie ..... . Fingers crossed.

  • fatty23 on February 17, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    How long will Khan stay fit for. Only if he doesn't bowl loads of overs in one spell because Pathan conceads 36 in a over or Munaf breaks another bone in his body. The third bowler has to be someone fit who bowls accurately like Praveen Kumar.

  • aryaman1994 on February 17, 2009, 15:59 GMT

    DannoTheManno u just can not get your facts rite ca u? India drew against south africa in south africa in 2006. How many matches have South Africa won inIndia? Not many.But does that make them a bad team? Anyway who is talking about history? This present team is very good and will become no 1.U arejust jealous because whichever team u support is not as good as India.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on February 17, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    The third bowler, or the first change bowler, can even be a spinner. The reason why Anil Kumble was so successful, was because he was the bowler that India depended upon, after Prasad and Srinath had been done with the opening spell.

  • paelleon on February 17, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Dear FarhanDon. I would dearly love to see Pak back in the fold. My deepest regret is that I never got to see Mohammed Yousuf bat live when I had the chance (particularly during 2005-2006 season). But until they are back in the fold they are not on the radar. We have no idea how those (potentially excellent) bowlers will perform as a team in the cauldron of a test match. We're discussing new ball pairings here - not fantasy leagues ;)

  • littlemaestro on February 17, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    There's a simple way to prove that Zak and Ishant are among the very best. Let's see how they fare in NZ first and if I was to bet I would bet my money on Zak/Ishant proving more than a handful for the Black Caps. Now the Kiwis may not be in the best of form, but beating them at home is not going to be a cakewalk for any team.

    And let's dump those ridiculous ICC rankings in the first place and start talking about the on-field presence. Can't you hardcore critics see the amount of confidence the presence of Zak/Ishy does for the Indian team? Same case with Steyn/Ntini, we the-so-called-Patriots-blind-to-facts are not denying that. I say, let the actions unfold and speak for themselves. Please stop this rubbish about bias to the Indian team and so-so.

  • monishah on February 17, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    how funny..................... Zaheer khan stand at 13 & 14 in ICC's Test and Odi ranking todate. and the other guy Ishant Shrma 26 & 39. first man is not in top-ten and second is not in top-twenty of both form..........can we reject the ICC's ranking because they are not upgrading our players like our choice.I think he is making our people happy with false statments. Can we be number one with these kind of statments or with performance. I think if J.Srinath given a chance to prepare top ten ranking of the world it should be like that...Test Bating. 1.Tendulkar 2. MS Dhoni 3.G.Ghambir. 4. W. Sehwag 5. R.Draved. 6.V.Laxman 7. Yuraj Singh 8. M.Vijay 9. H.Singh 10. Zaheer Khan.....and bowling 1. Ishant Sharma 2.Zaheer Khan 3. H. Singh 4. M.Patel 5.S.Santh 6.Irfan Pathan 7.Balajee 8. S.Tendulkar 9.V.Sehwag 10. and odi ranking should be also like this..........plz dont make us fool. be realastic..let us see our team's performance in Nezeland.

  • vik56in on February 17, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    Srinath has echoed many a sentiment of the average Indian cricket fan .Sreesanth is definitely the third seamer.He is faster than both Munaf and Balaji and is the best outswing bowler in India.Dhoni's prejudice against him has overtaken his logic.Bowlers like him who can bowl in the 140kphs are not born everyday in India.

  • FarhanDon on February 17, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    Mr. paelleon, How the hell can you possibly say Pakistan are not in the radar.Let me remind you that we haven't played a lot of cricket lately to prove our ability. We have few of the best bowlers going around now in the form of: Muhammad asif, sohail tanvir, shoaib akhtar and umar gul. Unfortunately they haven't got a chance to play together ,but when they will do so, u will all see who is the most potent attack in the world:PPPPP. Tanvir and asif are potentially the most best opening pair.With shoaib coming as 1st change. WOW! Wat an attack.Just let them all play together than u'll see.

  • DannoTheManno on February 17, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    Right then for all of you that asked me to check my stats, India have won 1 game in 12 in South Africa, the home of the actuall greatest team in the world - as well as the home of the best seam attack in the world. Theat is EVER - one game EVER in South Africa... Needless to say they have NEVER won or even drawn a series in the great country.. They have alot to prove.

  • arg_is_back on February 17, 2009, 14:15 GMT

    dude please arian77 just slow down stop and think for a minute, think before you type playa ! for a start bracken and hilfenhaus play odi's anyway. do you actually watch any cricket apart from highlights of India matches ? If you did you would know its between lee/johnson steyn/ntini, isnt sreesanth the guy who had a breakdown ? ideal support for these two clowns would be rp singh.

  • ukmenon on February 17, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    I think Sreesanth should have been picked ahead of Munaf Patel, because of his ability to swing the ball. In New Zealand the ball swings a lot and the pitches are bouncier than anywhere else. Ideal and tailormade for Sreesanth. Just remember how well he bowled on similar pitches in South Africa. Absolutely my choice as the third seamer. The selectors should still consider taking him to New Zealand. I am positive he will strike gold there and will be of great help to team India in winning the Test series, ODI's & 20's. I sincerely hope someone in the selection commitee has enough spunk to take this decision.

  • Raj_pandian on February 17, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    arian77----Dont compare Hifenhaus,Harmison and Broad,Kulasekara and Thushara.. Zaheer and ishant are much better than these people..........

  • ShahidMahoodRao on February 17, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Funny............enough is enough... world's best new ball attack????????????????????????? I have put less question marks. What these two bowlers have achieved in the world so far. Ever they win any test series outside India. Sout Africa, Australia, even Newzeland. Let them perform in the world, then give them credit. check the record in last searies in Newzeland. you can's even say that this is best Indian new ball attack

  • ssm2407 on February 17, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Zaheer & Ishant are a quality new ball pair, if not the best in the world right now, then pretty close. Its great to see Balaji back in the fold too but Munaf can no longer be termed a 'prospect', its about time he delivered & made his mark. Has a lot of catching up to do after he let down India badly on their last tour of South Africa - his lack of fitness virtually cost us the last test & with it the series. Also, I feel RP Singh has been harshly treated by the selectors; he had a brilliant calender year in 2007 & India's rise co-incided with his great form - he was the stand out bowler at the World Cup Twenty 20 when neither Zaheer or Ishant were there. He would have been my choice as 3rd seamer to the regular new ball pair on this tour. Also Irfan Pathan was worth considering not only for his swing but his lower order batting would have been an asset in seamer friendly NZ conditions.

  • bharatputra83 on February 17, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    Aren't we all getting carried away.Its just Srinath's opinion and he has every right to express it. Its not the gospel truth being forced upon everyone that it had to ruffle a few feathers. IMO though, I feel the Indian duo still have to be consistent in the longer run. They have had a good run for about a year now but surely to be called the best in the world, something extraordianry is required. Time will tell if they can produce it, but I am sure Srinath must have had his own reasons to say what he did. Perhaps Srinath said it with a mix of patriotism, as we can see over here, almost everyone is trying to promote their own nationals as the best. The rest are just plain-jane jealous. Anyways, I won't point to India's overseas records in the recent past as others have already done so. And I am sure as hell surprised to see that people take the ICC rankings so seriously. Everyone knows the blunders that are made in them! Finding a stable third seamer is going to be tough though.

  • suds69 on February 17, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    I wanna respond to AnadiMishra, I'm not too sure that Dale Steyn got murdered to all parts of the ground as you suggest. Remember that the series was 1-1. India only drew because they prepared a pitch that favoured them, but not lets get into that argument because all countries including South africa does that. In that drawn series Dale Steyn got the second highest amount of wickets (15wkts) behind Harbhajan (18wkts). Your fast bowlers, in their own back yard, Ishant got (5wkts) and sreesanth (4wkts). Did Steyn really get murdered then at an economy of 3.56?

  • couvaexpress on February 17, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    As for other fastbowling combinations ( I dare not call them new ball pairs because of personnel changes due to injury etc.) I think South Africa have the most potent combination of Morkel, Steyn, and Ntini at the moment. The West Indies have Taylor and Edwards. England has an entire arsenal of fastbowlers who have been rotated for varying reasons. I have not seen enough of Pakistan in tests lately to comment one their fasbowling line up. I also think that Australia have Johnson, Lee (when fit), Siddle and a host of other bowlers who are now being introduced. Overall, I think only the S. Africa bowling can outshine the India quicks with Taylor and Edwards not behind these two countries. But I must say that Sharma and Khan make up the most impressive fastbowling combination for India since Srinath and Prasad.

  • couvaexpress on February 17, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    everyone is saying that they are not the best new ball pair in the world but no one is putting forward any other pairs. There are a few other fastbowling combinations that I think would rank up there with Sharma and Khan but I really feel that India needs to have either another outright fastbowler or an allrounder like Irfan to balance the bowling attack. With the retirement of Ganguly, it is difficult to pick a team with two spinners and only two fastbowlers. As Srinath rightly pointed out, this will take the sting out of the Indian fastbowling attack on flat tracks since these two quickies will have have to bowl more overs. India's bowling should centre around Khan, Sharma, and Harbhajan in New Zealand. I definitely think a third seamer is preferrable in NZ but with the exclusion of Irfan, it means that someone who can hit the deck hard like Munaf could be included. India has Sehwag, Yuvraj, and Sachin who can bowl tight overs and even pick up key wickets.

  • arian77 on February 17, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    If Zaheer and Ishant aren't the best pace attack right now then who is?? Bracken and Hifenhaus? Harmison and Broad? Kulasekara and Thushara? Kyle Mills & Chris Martin? Steyn and Ntini? Well, Steyn and Ntini are the closest contenders but Ntini seems to be out of form right now and the only potent pair which hunt in pairs is Zaheer and Ishant. If they can produce such amazing results on placid tracks in India, its anybody's guess what they can achieve on bowler friendly pitches. Zaheer can move the ball around both ways, whereas Ishant can hit the deck and get good bounce of the wicket. Now tell me which of the above mentioned bowling pair can consistently achieve that? And provided a third seamer in the form of Praveen Kumar who can swing the ball a mile, or someone like Sreesanth who has good pace and bounce, I think these 2 will remain the best in the business.

  • R.O.C.K on February 17, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    DannoTheManno, CocaineCowboy ... interesting names for so-called "cricket pundits", something you guys are trying so hard to make yourselves look like ;-). When someone succeeds, the first ones to whine are whiners and losers (no points for guessing your nationalities) :). So maybe you need to turn the tv on and watch your chummies lose again while we win game after game after game. And you know what... no matter what you say, there is nothing you can friggin do about it. hahaha. Lots of love ;-)

  • paelleon on February 17, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    Quite honestly, if I could I would have Steyn and Johnston opening up; with Ishant as 1st change. (And that's only because I think Steyn is better than Ishant, and I like the idea of a left/right combo up front.) That's my best new ball + 1 pairing in the world at the moment.

  • Raj_pandian on February 17, 2009, 13:08 GMT

    I dont think they are the best new ball partners now!! of course, they are bowling very well but we cant compare them with Steyn or ntini (They are the best)I dont think Irfan is the right choice for the 3rd seemer post. he lost his rhythm and wonder why he is not swinging the ball like before... sreesanth had a vey bad domestic session.... RP would be the right choice for the 3rd seemer post, where as he can swing the ball and he can bowl much faster than the other two......

  • hassaanster on February 17, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    best new ball pair???..hahahahah..take a look at their stats..Ishant has 44 wkts in 15 tests and averages 31 & Zaheer has 197 wkts in 62 tests averaging 34..U'd have to be crazy to label them as the best new ball pair..now i noe many Indians out there will say tht these 2 bowl mostly on flat pitches..well so did Wasim & Waqar..and Waqar reached the 100 wkt mark in his 17th test..those 2 had the ability to turn things around in minutes..among the current lot i'd go wid Steyn & Ntini..Steyn picked up 15 wkts in 3 tests on SA's last tour to India which included a 5 wkt haul & he was quite impressive in Pakistan as well(9 wkts from 2 matches)..Zaheer is going thru a purple patch right now and even during period(yr 2008) he has averaged 36.85 having taken..Now another thing tht goes against these 2 is tht wenever they get hammered their captain sets them a packed offside field and all they do is bowl wide outside offstump..world class bowlers wud never shy away from a challenge

  • paelleon on February 17, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    I hail from SA. In all honesty I don't think Steyn and Ntini are the best new ball pairing. I'm not sure that Ishant and Zaheer are either. "Best" is such a provacative term.

    Let's look at the candidates: Pak, Zim, Bang, NZ, WI (despite Taylor's heroics) are all not really on the radar. Eng I would also discount(although Harmy and Flintoff at home are a handful). So that leaves SL, India, Aus and SA. SL's new ball pairing seems a bit unsettled. Who opens up with Vaas? Maharoof? Fernando? either way they are not top of the pile. Aus, when everyone is fully fit, have Lee and Johnson/Siddle. Lee and Johnson as a newball pair must be near the pinnacle for new ball pairings. SA plays Ntini, who is a bit past his prime, but seems to have rediscovered some fire; and Steyn who is sheer quality. And India have Ishant and Zaheer; class and good form. Who's the best out of those three groupings? Would you pick Ishant/Zaheer over Steyn/Ntini over Lee/Johnson? Good thing I'm not a selector.

  • Cric_123 on February 17, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Best new ball pair in the world...I will not even like to comment about that....But guys, just look at another statement, "Otherwise it will be case of what happened to [Venkatesh] Prasad and me....."

    Wat non-sense!! Srinath and Prasad were pathetic bowlers who would not have made it into any good bowling lineup in the world. This statement just goes on to show the calibre of the man who is rating these two as the best.......

    Instinctive patriotism often leads u to such conclusions!

  • cricketblood on February 17, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    The most pitiable bowler is Irfan Pathan. Not more than 4 years ago, he took a hat-trick and was even compared to Kapil Dev for his pace and swing. But now, the action change made him a little bit straighter and he became easy to pick. Remember, he was not known for his pace, but his natural ally swing. But he lost it as he changed his action. He is now bowling like a spinner who doesn't turn the ball or the batsmen are treating him like that. Another curious one is RP.The last year T20 WC hero is not even certain of a place in the side this year. He needs time to get back. But I firmly believe Balaji is the man with his swing and experience. He has seen horrible twists in fortune and deserves a chance to come back.

  • Parth_Pala on February 17, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    Firstly to the English - we already thrashed you in England forget Trent Bridge so quickly chumps? Then we beat you like the minnows you are. Secondly these two are probably not the best yet because they haven't had a chance to play outside the sub continent . On the subcontinent they have far outclassed their opposite numbers in Australia and England destroying their batting continuously. It's too bad they wern't playing against South Africa due to injury. They both bowl at pace and swing a lot better and a lot more late than Steyn or anyone else. Plus unlike what the English think is reverse swing these guys actually bowl. Remember Hussein being bewildered how these guys did it in 15th over in the recent tests whereas England or Aussies couldnt even get it going in 60th. Plus its proper reverse with the late banana swing not the amateur stuff the English do. I think with more test out of the sub-continent they will become no.1 soon.

  • juniorjain on February 17, 2009, 12:30 GMT

    I agree, they may not be the best but they've been real effective in the past year..n btw who the hell would y say r the best...alas how many test teams currently have a well settled new ball pair..they keep changing their new ball bowlers like anything. May be Steyn n Ntini r better but Zaheer-Ishant r definitely the second best. Srinath is obviously right in saying that they need proper support as gone r the days when 2 fast bowlers wud do cos after an hour or two spin wud take over..now u need fast bowlers u can bowl 20-25 overs a day and stay fit for a length of time..Zak-Ishant have to show that kinda fitness. I think India should try Praveen Kumar..he can swing the ball late and bowls a good line n length..can be really effective overseas.

  • swartshaun on February 17, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Replying storm81 claiming Ishant is better than Steyn , apart from the rankings which obviously means nothing to you , please just look at the stats. Please remember that Steyn did this in India, Pakistan, England and Australia and not only in S.A. If you look at the stats Steyn played double the matches , but he has four times the wickets !! also the strike rate and the rest are no comparison. I know I am going on about one on one players and not pairs, but the India suporters always seems to think they are the best. Now Ponting is apparently Ishant's bunny ??? Please !! On the other side your bestman (also best in the world) should please come to the bouncy wickets outside Asia - and please bring helmets along.

    Dale Steyn Matches 30 Wickets 154 Ave 23 strike rate 30

    Ishant Matches 15 wickets 44 ave 31 strike rate 60

  • Navinwwe on February 17, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    This pair is sort of joke comparing with the other opening bowlers.These bowlers were thrashed in the past by many batsmen.In my opinion Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga should be the best opening pair.Two totally different type of bowlers and they have a very good record comparing with Z Khan and I Sharma.

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on February 17, 2009, 12:00 GMT

    @DannoTheManno, beat England...as of now setting them 53 is enough to win a test, beat Australia...India beat them at Perth, a place they hadn't lost for 10 years and even SA needed that "inspiration", beat South Africa...India wrapped them up for 84 in the first test in 2007, not bad for a team that can't play on a green top. Maybe South Africa should come to India "again" and try winning or Australia should play India "again" and try or England should "try" playing some real test cricket. Some favourite whinges from the teams you mentioned and far worse than how those teams grab their balls: South Africa:" Since we can't play spin, turning tracks should be banned from world cricket", Australia:"We got thumped because sight-screens were not moved on time which happens in third-world countries".

  • JustFan on February 17, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    Hey Swartshaun, you have a chip on your shoulder. India played Australia at their full bowling strength for the last few years and fared much better than South Africa. The last SA/Aus series was played without Australia's two best bowlers. Get your facts right. Maybe they are not yet the best new ball pair in the world, but they were good enough to expose the Australians and they will be more than ample to beat the hell of the English and South Africans. Hope you are still on the circuit when that happens. keep in touch. You have only steyn, If he is injured Australia will trash you.

  • NumberXI on February 17, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Zaheer-Ishant may not be the best in the world for a lot of people, but they sure as hell are prime contenders. The anger from a lot of people is understandable given that most people are reacting to their being Indian than to their results. It would take nothing more than bias to ignore the bowling performances of Ishant Sharma in the Perth test where he made Ponting look like a novice - or of India's bowling that had Australia 15/3 at Perth. It would take a special kind of ignorance to turn a blind eye to comments from Michael Vaughan that England had never seen the kind of angles that Zaheer and RP Singh bowled at them in England. It will take some seriously selective memory to forget that on a wicket where South Africa were supposedly strong, it took a Sreesanth - currently not in the side and out of favour - to produce the kind of spell that knocked over SA for 84, a performance which Mickey Arthur admitted taught their bowlers something.

  • Irfanpathan63 on February 17, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    I may seem a bit biased as my username suggests but i do genuinely think that Irfan Pathan should fill the role of third seamer because of his batting prospect. He could be the next great allrounder. However i'm not saying he should be in the test team straight away, he needs to succeed at ODI and T20I level first. He should be batting higher in the order, with goods all round performances, he can force his way back into the side. Just look at his season this year in the Ranji Trophy:

    Bowling 4 matches - 26 wickets at 16.03 - economy rate: 2.43, Strike rate: 39.4 This shows he can keep it tight and take the wickets. That's as good a record as any of the other seamers last season.

    Batting Although he never made significant contributions with the bat, i'm sure if he was batted higher up he would score hundreds. 6 innings - 166 runs at 33.20 - strike rate: 64.09 - 2 fifties That's a very good allrounders season. If he puts in similar perforances next year, he shouldn't be avoi

  • aryaman1994 on February 17, 2009, 11:29 GMT

    I completely disagree with DannoTheManno. India are the going to be the best team in the world sooner or later weather u like it or not.besides, you guys talk about Ishant & Zaheer being effective in India only,India subcontinent is the toughest place for a fast bowler to bowl. Having said that. I agree that maybe Srinath did get carried away in saying that they are the best bowling pair.DannoTheManno, get your facts rite. India did tour England & win 1-0, 1-1 in South Africa, ODI series in Australia & would have won test series if not for poor umpiring. Utalk about India winning only in india, Where was T20 world cup held? In south Africa. Who won? India. Where was commonwealth bank series held? Australia. Who won? India.

  • CocaineCowboy on February 17, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Its so funny how india tries to put itself up on the top by saying the best new ball bowler...even a blind cricket team can say India new ball bowlers r not better than theirs ..in the history of indian cricket ..FAST Bowlers come and go like russians in dubai ...so plz india stick to ur batting and goodluck in makin DHoni the next Tendulkar.....ATT MEDIA...

  • AnadiMishra on February 17, 2009, 11:19 GMT

    I wanna reply to DannoTheManno. Friend as u r saying that India need to prove them in Aus,SA or Eng to claim No. 1 title. So I think Aus, SA and Eng also need to prove themselves. India thrashed Aus in India by 2-0(India won in Aus ODI CB series and lost test series1-2). India won in Eng Test series 1-0 and beaten Eng here in India by 1-0 Tests and 5-0 ODI's. SA came India and then test series levelled 1-1. Dale Steyn murdered to all corners of ground by Sehwag. So u duffer just see the results and judge whoz the best.

  • ZICO on February 17, 2009, 11:11 GMT

    Im sorry, I'm an ardent Indian cricket fan, but Ishant-Zak are not the best opening bowling pair in the world. Obviously, its not only about stats, but also picking up the early wicket. They do trouble the batsmen in the beginning but after that, they dont manage to pick up wickets.As for the thrid bowler, right now, we dont have any suitable option, so I agree with the musical chairs policy.

  • Strongscotch on February 17, 2009, 11:11 GMT

    Srinath should stick to being a Match referee.. How on earth Zaheer/Sharma the best in the world opening bowling combination.yes!! they are good bowlers but to be world class you have to do it consistently over a longer period and under different playing conditions.

    to be frank the day both Zaheer and Sharma fails India will struggle to take 20 wickets..The spinners are pretty ordinary..Harbajan is not a great spinner like the Indian past spinners..

  • KingKallis on February 17, 2009, 11:03 GMT

    I dont know how Irfan lost all his venom, he does not looklike a test bowler anymore! He need to discover his pace and thats the only thing how he can be handy in helping conditions. Swing + pace = Real Irfan we knew!

    Munaf surely is a good prospect but he need to be utilized well. I dont know how Dhoni has planned things for him? Warne used him well in IPL though!

  • KingofDice on February 17, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    They are a good bowling pair to be sure, but by no means the best. Ishant is probably the best thing to happen to indian pace in recent times and zaheer is bowling well but they just cant mach the pace of steyn, bounce of morkel or the experience of ntini.

  • Saadsik on February 17, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    haha best new ball pair in the world???? Srinath himself unfortuanetly doesnt know much about the new ball These 2 are not even in the top 5 as far as bowling with the new ball is concerned Being the best with the new ball means you should be able to swing it both ways and unfortunately none of the 2 know how to do that. Srinath you need to hit the books buddy Haha what a joke!

  • mayazza on February 17, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    In reply to DannoTheManno- Did u not watch tv when India thrased England in England ??

  • ruvvy on February 17, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    If not them, who else? Siddel & Johnson Harmison & Broad /Anderson /Sidebottom Taylor & Powell/Edwards Akhtar & Gul Steyn & Ntini. And Sharma & Khan bowl on placid wickets!

  • gunners_rule on February 17, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    I disagree with, Srinath here. MSD had made it clear that he will pick the players depending on the situation and pitch. It's not possible to retain the same third seamer in all conditions. Nobody has proved their worth till now to do that. Munaf has no fitness, Balaji hasnt been in international level for long, Irfan is bcoming more of a batsman and a part-time nowadays. Of the lot, Sree with less animation should be the first change. he is suited and proved in both ODI and Test, but again he hasnt been good enough to be a permanent member. Praveen kumar's lack of pace will go against him in Tests. So it is impossible for MSD to keep a permanent third seamer. So I am afraid the musical chair will go on!! But the best choice is Sree for the third seamer.

  • KingofDice on February 17, 2009, 10:28 GMT

    I very much agree with swartshaun. zaheer is pretty good an ishant may be the best paceman to have popped up in india for a long time, but i still do not see them matching the skiddy 145+ kmph fireballs of steyn, the bounce of Morkel and the sheer experience and wicket taking ability of Ntini. Irfan would probably be the best choice for the 3rd seamer considering he bowls well and also has decent batting ability. I remember he did pretty well in the ipl last year.

  • madmike360 on February 17, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    How on earth are those two going to be the best two bowlers. I mean C'mon look at their averages and economy rates. What happen to dale stayn and Morkel or Braken. Plz look at the ranking first dude. Just because they won last couple of games doesn't mean anything as they were more lucky to Won the toss rather than the talent. Get you facts right. I can't believe how these guys are biased towards India, when they are winning they are the best players of the world when they are loosing it's the otherway around.

  • pashya on February 17, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    I totally agree with Vinsulin.ALthough Munaf is a very fine bowler,He has fitness problem.He always gets injured and he has never played a full series.I don't understand why selectors pick him time and again? Now who is responsible that all these fast bowlers gets injured.All promising fast bowlers in last 5 years have been injured .Look at RP ,Shrisant,balaji and Munaf.All of them have won atleast one match for India.But none of them is match fit as of now! Swartshaun:Srinath is talking about best bowling pair.No doubt Steyn( who is known as steyngun :) )is best fast bowler in the world now and south africa are best test team in the world. But talking about performance of Zaheer & Ishant,last two test series against Australia and England, this pair has performed really well and young Ishant has made someone like ponting his "bunny".

  • DannoTheManno on February 17, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    India are a joke. How they can continuously claim to be the best in the world is beond me. They cannot win a test series outside of thier own country. Even Sri Lanka is too far for them to travel. Yet for some reason they believe they have the best players in the world. I personally can't wait for them to tour any one of Aus, Eng or South Africa again... it will be a joy to see them forced to face the reality that they are only capable of playing with any consistency on one type of wicket. Then it will be great to here the excuses made.... like "in India we catch with our fingers pointing down" - give me a break!

  • denzil.correa on February 17, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    It's the way both of them have performed under conditions not quite conducive to fast bowling which makes them the "best bowling" pair. We all saw what Ntini/Morkel could do in India. Also, the stress is on the word "pair" and not a particular bowler.

  • yesashwina on February 17, 2009, 9:56 GMT

    i agree with sreenath 80% they can become world no.1 there support munaf patel is just useless if we compare with sreesanth or balaji they both have agression speed swing bowling munaf has nothin compared to them only he is the mistake done in team selection

  • R.O.C.K on February 17, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    Completely agreed with Srinath. Zaheer-Ishant is the BEST new-ball pair in the world. They bowl with intelligence whereas fellow pacers from SA, Aus, Eng only concentrate on pace and scaring the wits out of the batsmen with their interesting lip-service! Steyn was a big flop in Aus contrary to what the "holier than thou" SA press make him look, Ntini is waaaaaaaaay past his peak, Morkel is okay but still cant be compared to Zak-Sharma. The SA pacers can only work magic on tailor-made pitches whereas Ishant and Zak have wrecked havoc in the CB series, Test series in Aus and almost every series they've partnered in. All the steam out of Steyn was blown off by Viru during the SA tour to India. So much for the "rankings", lol. India taught the world how to beat Aus. So perhaps the self-obsessed SA's need to start playing MEN more often than the defunct Aus boys ! Lots of love ;-)

  • mezrg on February 17, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    With all due respect, I don't think that Zaheer and Ishant are the best in the world - that is over estimation. Just because they have one good season, it does not qualify the claim. We talk of brilliance of Ambrose / Walsh or Waquar / Wasim, this pair is rubbish.

  • storm81 on February 17, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    In reply to Swartshaun - You might want to check your facts before posting...we did go to India and beat them with Zaheer Khan demolishing England at Trent Bridge...Ishant Sharma wasnt even playing at that stage. We went to Australia and would have won the series had the referral system been in place, notwithstanding that you might want to see Ishant's spell against Ponting at Perth and then realise why he has far greater potential than Dale Steyn. Finally, its been a while since we visted South Africa, when we do that question will be answered too :)

  • kavalier on February 17, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I agree with swartshaun about the comment. They cannot be judged the best new ball pair in the world. But then again Dale Steyn has not a regular beside him so they too do not deserve any judgement. And by the way India has gone and finished a tour of Australia with the same pair. And with that BOLD comment lets wait and reserve judgement about their performance in SA.Cheers!!!

  • Jama on February 17, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    Munaf Patel is a hopeless Bowler and he doesnt deserve to be in the team...Irfan, Sreesanth or Balaji must be the third option in New Zealand as well as in future. Munaf has always faced a fitness problem in the past and he lacks aggression. He seems both mentally and physically weak. Even in the last game that he played against SL. He could nt even complete his 10 Overs as he just bowled 6 overs.

    I hate to see Munaf in the team as he always lets the team down.

  • Katri on February 17, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    Perhaps Srinath is getting a little carried away with Zaheer and Ishant. They are yet to prove themselves as a successful pairing outside the sub-continent and we should reserve judgement until the end of the New Zealand tour. Given the heavy workload for the Indian team in the coming months, its good to know that the fast bowling stocks are in good shape. But I still find it hard to reconcile to the fact that Irfan Pathan is nowhere near the reckoning for a test spot. Perhaps he needs stint in English county cricket to get his rythm and swing back. The 2006 season with Worchestershire worked wonders for Zaheer's career.

  • swartshaun on February 17, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    How on earth are they the best new ball pair in the world ? Comparing to Dale Steyn and Ntini/Morkel ? Where besides in India have these guys played and won ? South-Africa has won in five different countries in a row now including Eng in Eng and Aus in Aus. Dale Steyn is also ranked the top fast bowler in the world. Please India come to Aus, Eng or South-Africa and first perform here before you make BOLD statements.

  • ajaydesai on February 17, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    Irfan Pathan should have been included in Test squad as he has required test experience and if he is successful in one days in NZ, then option is always open.

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  • ajaydesai on February 17, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    Irfan Pathan should have been included in Test squad as he has required test experience and if he is successful in one days in NZ, then option is always open.

  • swartshaun on February 17, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    How on earth are they the best new ball pair in the world ? Comparing to Dale Steyn and Ntini/Morkel ? Where besides in India have these guys played and won ? South-Africa has won in five different countries in a row now including Eng in Eng and Aus in Aus. Dale Steyn is also ranked the top fast bowler in the world. Please India come to Aus, Eng or South-Africa and first perform here before you make BOLD statements.

  • Katri on February 17, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    Perhaps Srinath is getting a little carried away with Zaheer and Ishant. They are yet to prove themselves as a successful pairing outside the sub-continent and we should reserve judgement until the end of the New Zealand tour. Given the heavy workload for the Indian team in the coming months, its good to know that the fast bowling stocks are in good shape. But I still find it hard to reconcile to the fact that Irfan Pathan is nowhere near the reckoning for a test spot. Perhaps he needs stint in English county cricket to get his rythm and swing back. The 2006 season with Worchestershire worked wonders for Zaheer's career.

  • Jama on February 17, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    Munaf Patel is a hopeless Bowler and he doesnt deserve to be in the team...Irfan, Sreesanth or Balaji must be the third option in New Zealand as well as in future. Munaf has always faced a fitness problem in the past and he lacks aggression. He seems both mentally and physically weak. Even in the last game that he played against SL. He could nt even complete his 10 Overs as he just bowled 6 overs.

    I hate to see Munaf in the team as he always lets the team down.

  • kavalier on February 17, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I agree with swartshaun about the comment. They cannot be judged the best new ball pair in the world. But then again Dale Steyn has not a regular beside him so they too do not deserve any judgement. And by the way India has gone and finished a tour of Australia with the same pair. And with that BOLD comment lets wait and reserve judgement about their performance in SA.Cheers!!!

  • storm81 on February 17, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    In reply to Swartshaun - You might want to check your facts before posting...we did go to India and beat them with Zaheer Khan demolishing England at Trent Bridge...Ishant Sharma wasnt even playing at that stage. We went to Australia and would have won the series had the referral system been in place, notwithstanding that you might want to see Ishant's spell against Ponting at Perth and then realise why he has far greater potential than Dale Steyn. Finally, its been a while since we visted South Africa, when we do that question will be answered too :)

  • mezrg on February 17, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    With all due respect, I don't think that Zaheer and Ishant are the best in the world - that is over estimation. Just because they have one good season, it does not qualify the claim. We talk of brilliance of Ambrose / Walsh or Waquar / Wasim, this pair is rubbish.

  • R.O.C.K on February 17, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    Completely agreed with Srinath. Zaheer-Ishant is the BEST new-ball pair in the world. They bowl with intelligence whereas fellow pacers from SA, Aus, Eng only concentrate on pace and scaring the wits out of the batsmen with their interesting lip-service! Steyn was a big flop in Aus contrary to what the "holier than thou" SA press make him look, Ntini is waaaaaaaaay past his peak, Morkel is okay but still cant be compared to Zak-Sharma. The SA pacers can only work magic on tailor-made pitches whereas Ishant and Zak have wrecked havoc in the CB series, Test series in Aus and almost every series they've partnered in. All the steam out of Steyn was blown off by Viru during the SA tour to India. So much for the "rankings", lol. India taught the world how to beat Aus. So perhaps the self-obsessed SA's need to start playing MEN more often than the defunct Aus boys ! Lots of love ;-)

  • yesashwina on February 17, 2009, 9:56 GMT

    i agree with sreenath 80% they can become world no.1 there support munaf patel is just useless if we compare with sreesanth or balaji they both have agression speed swing bowling munaf has nothin compared to them only he is the mistake done in team selection

  • denzil.correa on February 17, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    It's the way both of them have performed under conditions not quite conducive to fast bowling which makes them the "best bowling" pair. We all saw what Ntini/Morkel could do in India. Also, the stress is on the word "pair" and not a particular bowler.