New Delhi: Impressed with the skill-set of young speedsters at the MRF pace academy in Chennai, Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath yesterday said that hunting for stronger bodies from the northern part of India can be the answer to the nation's thirst for producing more fast bowlers.
Glenn McGrath. Pic/PTI
The 6 feet 5 inch-tall pacer, who dominated the cricketing world after bagging 563 wickets in 124 Tests during his 14-year-long career, is unable to diagnose India's inabilty to produce a constant stream of pacers but is hopeful with the current crop. "It (MRF pace foundation) was originally set up 28 years ago to find bowlers, who can bowl good pace and express bowlers.
And I think to be a fast bowler in India is as tough as it gets. Now, why there have been no bowlers, who can bowl upto 150 plus I am not sure," McGrath said during an interaction with mediapersons, here yesterday. "But if you look at the top of India, people are actually physically bigger and stronger. Maybe, looking for more fast
bowlers from that region can be a good option.
Because you look just across the border and they produce fast bowlers all the time," said McGrath during a promotional event as the brand ambassador of Australia's Hardys Wines for their Indian distributors Sula Selections. "It's quite amazing, I don't know whether genetics plays a role. If you have got a bowler, who is 6 feet four and above, strong, he is going to get that bounce which a guy who is under 6 foot is not going to get.
So I think being taller does help but it's not a pre-requisite, look at Dale Steyn he can still bowl fast and is the best in the world," he added. The 45-year-old McGrath has been open about his praise for Varun Aaron, whom he tutored for a while, but urges the youngsters to step up in this highly competitive age. "I come over to Chennai three times a year.
I like how they do thing's there. I think the coaching is good and the facilities are good and just the way they go about it I really like because that's the way I used to train. "The young guys coming through are very good skill wise but it's the attitude that's going to take them forward. We have seen Varun Aaron come out of the MRF pace foundation, he has done well. I would like to see him play more for India.
I think he has got so much potential 150 kmph is good and I would love to see him get more of an opportunity," he said. "Than you have Ishwar Pandey, whose done well and will start getting more opportunities for India moving forward. We have seen bits and pieces in the IPL, but I want to see the young guys now stepping up a little bit more," he said.
McGrath also believes that the skills of the modern bowler is on the decline with the accurate use of the yorker missing from the armoury. "We have seen new shots come along, the scoring rate has increased. So in one sense it has improved for the batsmen with the lap shot and the reverse sweep coming in. But for the bowler, I have been a little bit disappointed.
I think the skill level of a fast bowler and the bowler's in generally has dropped a little bit, because they don't have to be more consistent. They can run in and bowl six completely different deliveries. We don't have to land them exactly right. "I want the bowlers to work, especially the pacers to work on their skill level more and to get back to bowling some very good yorkers.
We saw during the World Cup with Mitchell Starc and Lasith Malinga, to a degree just how effective the bowler can be if he can bowl very good yorkers. Lot of bowlers have occasionally tried but because the skill level is not that great, they missed it and the batsman scored runs. "I like to see the fast bowlers put more time in the nets, honing their craft so that they can really land the ball where they want and especially those yorkers.
If there is a fast bowler who can bowl yorkers at will, then any IPL team will pick them up," said the legendary pacer. Giving an insight into his mantra for continued success during his illustrious career, McGrath talked about his main weapons that got him through the toughest of times. "One was execution, I had very good control.
My weapons were my control and my bounce. When you speak to guys like Sachin (Tendulkar) and Brian Lara, they would rather face somebody who bowls around 150 and skids the ball, than somebody who bowls 130-140 and gets that bounce. I always felt that I could bowl to a plan. I had a plan to each batsman, I would set the field and even if the captain set the field I would be able to bowl to it. That's I think what helped me," McGrath said.
"And even in the shorter version, I had the back-up ball in mind. It's about knowing your batsman and what they are wanting to do and then having a back-up ball or plan, he added. Praising Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan for bringing fast bowling into the barren pitches of India, McGrath said that he was impressed with the Men in Blue's bowling show in the 2015 World Cup.
"I think India is still a tough place to play for Australia. I don't think they play spin that well. To be a successful fast bowler in India and when you travel to Australia and start bowling on those wickets, it's like Christmas. Guys like Kapil Dev led the way and Zaheer Khan another exceptional bowler.
These guys found how to get wickets in Indian conditions. I was very impressed by the Indian pacers in the World Cup as well. They were terrible before the World Cup but come the big stage and they (the bowlers) just lifted the team. Mohammed Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers and Umesh Yadav was good," he said. McGrath though rued the fact that an off-season is missing in the modern-day cricket calender, which has affected the fitness of a fast bowler.
"But when I was playing there was always an off season. Being a fast bowler, you need an off season, you need rest. Just like a car needs a refill at the start of the season, a pacer also needs to restore energy. You need an off season to get the strength back. The IPL and a packed international calender does not give the bowlers much rest and that's one of the reason's why they get injured.