Who Dropped The Ball ?


My answer is  “Lack of Athletes”. We The people of India, in particular the Indian Sports/Cricket Media and the vociferous lot among India’s Sports/Cricket Fans are going ballistic on Ishant’s 30 run over. Yesterday’s poor show by Ishant Sharma and the Indian bowling unit and MS Dhoni’s handling of the unit, should raise a lot of questions. Fair enough.  It is important to evaluate the bowling unit and make changes to make sure the 2-1 lead that the Aussies are enjoying right now, does not balloon up into a 5-2 or 6-1 loss for India. It is, however, even more important to ask the RIGHT questions.

One of the important questions we must ask should be “Why doesn’t our great nation of a billion produce Great Athletes?”. A Country of more than billion people, yet no really GREAT athletes to speak of – in any sport. Why don’t we have super athletes that even small nations like Jamaica and Kenya seem to produce on a constant basis? I have a  slight hunch that the answer to that question will address a bigger problem that needs to be remedied to remedy this lack of  FAST bowlers who can really hurl those toe-crushing yorkers at the Death.

I think athleticism is the basic requirement for any fast bowler to be fast and once we have a tear-away young bowler, one can always have coaches help such wonderful athletes to temper their pace with control. Please tell me our “Fast” bowlers since the Big Bang. I doubt if we could even put Kapil Dev /Srinath/Zaheer Khan in that category. I mean think about other cricketing nations. Think about how many fast bowlers they have had and how they seem to replace one generation of fast bowlers with another.

Isn’t this the same problem we encounter in athletics? All the countries in World seem to have dominant or great athletes in one sport or another, often in multiple sports and what do we really have? Consider our Olympic Medallists and please tell me which of those wonderful sportsmen or sportswomen can be considered ATHLETIC?

I am sure we have all identified Ishant Sharma as the culprit and we will call vociferously for him to be axed from the ODI team and possibly even the test team. Ask yourselves this – “Do you seriously believe we will not be scape goat hunting again, in a year or so from now?”. After all, we have been doing this since Chetan Sharma dealt that painfully traumatic blow to his own psyche as well as that of an entire Nation. I really hope throwing Ishant out of the ODI team will suddenly make our Bowling attack an all-conquering set of bowlers like their Australian, South African, English, Pakistan or even Sri Lankan or New Zealand counterparts. I am not so sure that is what is going to happen though.

Why don’t we as cricket fans, media and admirers of this wonderful bunch of sportsmen ask the RIGHT questions and address the RIGHT issues instead of going into emotional overdrive and labelling one particular player – Ishant Sharma in this case, as the ONLY reason we are not delivering satisfactory results on the FAST bowling front. I am sure we will find the RIGHT answers, if only we all collectively cool down and take a good hard look at the Sports landscape in this wonderful and beautiful country, and ask the RIGHT questions.

10 thoughts on “Who Dropped The Ball ?

  1. I believe the problem is even more deep rooted than what it seems to be . Good bowlers (be it fast / slow / medium pace) are certainly a rare breed in our country , primarily because we have always been a “batting” nation and inspiration for our future aspiring / current cricketers is drawn from likes of Gavaskar , Sachin , Dravid or VVS but not from someone like Kapil Dev , Srinath , Kumble or may be even Zaheer . Now again , in the bowlers list there is only Kapil Dev and Kumble who have crossed that mantle of 400 test wickets . So , where does our cricketers draw the inspiration from ?? .

    This “inspiration” term has gained momentum ever since we started comparing our bowling resources to our neighborhood country . Our neighbor seems to have a very good production line of bowlers and the reason they claim is the “inspiration” they draw from the greats of Imran , Akram , Waqar and Qadir . But the same “inspiration” does not hold good for their batting resources . Same goes with the great Windies , where there is no dearth of inspirational players be it bowling or batting .

    So, what is it that causing bowling woes to India . This is not the first time it is talked , discussed or written about . I believe the “perception , preparation and nurture” of bowling is all that defines this problem.

    Perception : Bowling is a “hard job” , as it is the most demanding job in the game and there is great insecurity to one’s place in the team . This discourages a lot of youngsters to look this as a viable career option in the game .

    Preparation : Inadequate preparation . Not in terms of practice , but in terms of building one’s physique for it . I remember a discussion on espncricinfo with Dale Steyn where he says he does not build biceps or arms for bowling fast , but does body workouts that “suits” his bowling style . Michael Holding on the stage once wore a “S” sized t shirt and showed that you don’t have to be a “big/tall” guy to bowl fast .

    The bowlers that come up to the top level to play for India somehow seem to overcome the above two problems , but there is NO “nurture” for these bowlers when they go through a bad patch or injured . The game administrators in the country either play a deaf ear to the NURTURING of bowlers or they don’t have resources for it . Board pays top dollars to procure foreign help to better assist our bowlers at International level . But when the supply line itself is faulty how can the foreign help sustain the performance levels ?? . This help is needed at the grass root level like the Under 14 / 19, where you find the budding bowlers. These young cricketers also need better physios to help maintain a ideal shape and not fall prey to injuries .

    May be if the above points are taken seriously and put into practice , we might be able to reduce our bowling miseries !!

  2. Chandu:

    Wonderful comments! You have basically given a blue print on how to improve the condition/status of athletes in our country!

    I wish someone would get the BCCI to implement these. There is also another issue…. when I have played cricket with Indians, EVERYONE wants to bat. I noticed that Pakistanis – a good number of them love to bowl. and WANT to bowl. As you mentioned, they have some legendary bowlers to inspire them, we have batsmen as our rolemodels.

    If I had know 20years back that this will be the state of our bowlers, maybe I would have tried to get fit and athletic like the great fast bowlers, instead of thinking “hey, I can bat well, even if I am obese. look at how easily ranatunga plays:D

    Kids, please take it from me, there is a lot of fun in working hard like crazy and toiling very hard – the rewards will be that much enjoyable 🙂

  3. Its there hard work.to put SAF under commanding position.. but sadly for du Plessis rubbing the ball allegedly on the zipper of his trouser pocket.

  4. Pingback: All aboard the African safari…. | SportzCosmos

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