Wednesday, June 21, 2006

LACK OF PENETRATION

Many years ago when I was just starting out on cricket, my uncle asked me whether I was a bowler or a batsman. I wanted to be a batsman and on times rolled the arm over. He was disappointed. Being an avid fan of cricket, he was frustrated at the lack of penetration in the Indian bowling line-up. At the same time, he was disappointed over the poor showing of the Indian batsmen when facing the fast bowlers.

To this day, the same story continues to the chagrin of the Indian cricket fan. It is the lack of a fast bowler who can bowl swinging yorkers, that has cost India many a match. The inability to close out the last two test matches in the West Indies is also a pointer in this direction. It is not that every bowler can become a Waqar Younis or a Wasim Akram, but at least no Indian bowler has ever looked like bowling those yorkers on a consistent basis.

Zaheer Khan came into the reckoning with superb yorkers in the ICC Champions Trophy in Kenya. If I remember correctly, it was a special from Zaheer that defeated Steve Waugh. But over time, Zaheer fluffed his lines and is now out of the Indian team. Pathan never relied on this kind of a ball to bag his wickets. Srinath was the best fast bowler to play for India since Kapil Dev. He also never bowled a yorker. Of the current lot, Munaf has got the pace and the attitude.

The yorker bowled with pace and aimed at the right direction can be a very potent weapon bowling on unresponsive pitches and at lower order batsmen.

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