Australians are better built to bowl strong, says Yardley
NEW DELHI, November 26: India might have won the first Test against Pakistan in Delhi courtesy their bowlers but its pace battery is a far cry from becoming a tour-de-force.
Pace bowling is all in the breeding, said former Australian bowler Bruce Yardley. The Indian bowlers are not quite strong I guess, he said. The South African and Aussie fast bowlers are generally big and strong than the subcontinent bowlers, Yardley said. That’s why the subcontinent bowlers struggle to find that extra pace, he added.
Yardley’s comments come in the wake of India’s pacers Sreesanth and Rudra Pratap Singh being ruled out of the second and third Test in Kolkata and Bangalore owing to injuries. Sreesanth is nursing a shoulder injury and might have to go in for a surgery. Rudra is suffering from a side strain. Yardley feels Sreesanth and RP Singh have to get stronger. They need to do more gym work to strengthen their bodies, said Yardley on a lighter note.
“India would love to have another Javagal Srinath to hit the pitch hard”, said Yardley. But then Javagal Srinath was lean and lanky yet he produced enough pace to rattle the best of batsmen in the world. Yardley thinks Zaheer Khan is bowling well but he is not extreme pace as Australias’ Bret Lee and Mitchell Johnson.
Yardley believes it is physique and the lack of it that determines the pace in bowling. And not hectic cricketing schedules, an opinion harboured by public and cricket novices. “I think all teams have pretty hectic schedules these days. If you compare, Australians and South Africans are born with a stronger physique. Physically Australians are built to bowl fast”, said the former Australian bowler.
Apart from physical strength Yardley attributes winning performances to a strong training programme in Australia. Yardley says, “That’s why they keep coming through. That’s why you see McGrath retires and Mitchell Johnson comes in and he can still bowl sharp.”
The Australians come in waves. “When Glen McGrath was injured, Stuart Clarke came in. He is not express but he gets extreme bounce. They have the reserves”, says Yardley.
Yardley feels Mitchell Johnson is the strongest in the Aussie attack. “Mitchell Johnson is extremely strong and fit. Brett Lee is strong as well with a magnificent bowling action. And with Stuart Clark too in their side, the three can bowl longer spells.”
Johnson, the tall and talented left-arm fast-medium bowler is full of promise. The 26-year-old made his Test debut in November 2007 and has managed to take a four-wicket haul in the two Tests he has played. From seven ODIs, Johnson has taken 14 wickets and all against India.
It is the wicket taking ability and not action that counts for Yardley. Among the Indian pacers, Yardley said, “Zaheer Khan appears to be the strongest built. RP Singh has a very lovely action, but obviously he is having back problems so young. I think he has to work on back strengthening. The physio should be able to target certain areas to bring them on as certainly strong and make them last long especially in Test cricket.”
Zaheer Khan is bowling well to spearhead the pace after the Indian attack has suffered from injuries since five years. While he is at the front of the attack he hasn’t played much. This year, the 29-year-old has only played just one Test – the recently concluded first Test against Pakistan in Delhi . But he has been able to prove his mettle by taking a four-wicket haul. Zaheer has taken 13 wickets from 11 One-dayers in 2007 so far.
So what is missing in the Indian pace attack? “They just can’t have that pace to trouble the Australian batsmen at home. In India, they get away with a little bit because the pitches are little slower and the ball doesn’t come on as much. But in Australia, if you bowl medium pace you have to swing the ball”, answers Bruce Yardley.
“As Brett Lee runs in, he bowls at 145-150 km/hr, he still swings the ball. So they (India) need RP Singh, Munaf Patel to start swinging the ball. Zaheer Khan can swing. He’s on his way, he’s okay. He can do quite well in Australia, as long as he thinks about swinging the ball. If you haven’t got pace and you don’t move it in the air in Australia, you really struggle,” the 60-year-old veteran added.
Zaheer will certainly swing the ball both ways in Australia. Sreesanth, if he is cleared for the Australian tour, will have to ensure he swings a little, advises Yardley while RP Singh will work out in the gym to strengthen his back and train to add pace in the hope he gets a berth. Even if they acquire all the necessary skills to sharpen their attack, they may not be able to destroy the Australian line up because they are not built the way the Australians and South Africans according to Yardley’s theory.
The Indian attack might want to prove that pace bowling is not just about breeding. After all, Javagal Srinath was not gigantic but when it came to bowling he was truly a giant.