The Indian team that has been announced for the Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka has only three fast bowlers and again the selectors have presumed that spin would do the trick for them. Contrast this with the Sri Lankan squad which has a battery of pace bowlers and each one of the fast bowlers is treated like a prized commodity. Seeing the shabby treatment that is being given to the fast bowlers in the country, even Imran Khan, the legendary fast bowler had expressed his anguish. He was categorical enough to say that while spinners may win some matches, it is the fast bowlers who ultimately would be the match winners for all the times to come. After all, they only make the initial assault and numb the senses of the batsmen, and invite the spinners to weave their magic and induce sense of complacency in the batsmen. The relentless assault of the fast bowlers indeed prepares the ground for the spinners to take over.
The manner in which the scenario has panned out for the fast bowlers in India is indeed a matter of concern, as the treatment given to them induces element of self-doubt in the mind of the fast bowlers whether to pursue the career in fast bowling or not?
Ishant Sharma when he had emerged on the Indian horizon had been seen as the lad who would carry the mantle of Indian fast bowling for a long time, but he is now not even a pale shade of him. Here was a lad who had scared the wits of Ricky Ponting and now he does not find a place for himself in the Indian squad. Same is the case with Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, etc. They all are in the wilderness and the mainstay of Indian bowling lies on Ashish Nehra who is already down the hill. There was a lad from Kashmir, who was genuinely quick but has not been able to find a place for himself.
Indian bowling is presently characterized by military medium pace which even a number seven or eight batsmen can clobber around with relative ease. It is high time Ishant Sharma is invested in, and so should the same be done for Munaf Patel as well. Let the advent of IPL not move the focus away from the fast bowlers as they are the ultimate match winners.
By: Suman Rai