Fast Bowling is an Art & the Artists are those Tired Labours

One needs a very powerful frame of mind and strong body with ambition of hard working to be one of the best pacers in the game of Cricket.

We often use one of the common sentences in the game of Cricket that Fast Bowling dismisses the batsman by scaring him with a fear remains on the eyes in some cases when the person will face the bowler again whereas Spin bowling makes you felt shame.

Fast Bowling in Sub-Continental Countries:

Not always we provide the due credit, those quicks deserve, it’s not easy to run in for about 10-yards and bowl a fast delivery that will ask the batsman so many questions; to do it in all the conditions specially in the hot weathers and on those dead roads of the Sub-continent, it expects a lot of toil in the body, the physical and mental strength becomes the cherry on the cake to do it on a regular basic with the amount of Cricket is being played in those days all over the world.

Then “Luck” is one of the words every job requires at some point. As a bowler, it becomes so much frustrating to see balls after balls being bowled missing the edges of the bat and that’s why I always say that in test Cricket, the pinnacle of all the formats, the bowling figures of a bowler might not paint the right picture how good he has bowled on that day. One of your spells where you haven’t gone for so many runs with zero flashing in the last column which in a way could have dried the run-flow but that means your team will have a long day in the field. In t-20 cricket it doesn’t happen always but still if a bowler is being given the options of wickets or drying up runs then hardly, he/she will go for the second option.

Luck does play a trick:

As I have spoken about the “edges and misses”, it feels worst some of the times. Can’t remember the game or the name or the bowler, but there was a stat that in a spell, he had almost 20 times the balls went past the edge of the blade. Then the drop catches or a wrong umpiring; although you have the preference of going for a review, but it’s tough for the bowler to make the captain’s mind at the time; everyone is not that pleasing as Virat Kohli.

Just after ending your spell, when you would stand near the third man fence, you observed your fresh partner getting wickets easily and those are the fruits of the baby plants you had sowed till now. You felt so great for the team but individually you may feel a bit unlucky as everyone can.

The way of preserving proper Fast Bowlers:

The physical stability becomes so much essential of late with the number of games the fast bowlers play. How sore and painful a body becomes on the 5th day of the 3rd or 4th test match in a series bowling for about 100+ overs; they need a break to turn up sharp and lethal in upcoming days. “Play less Cricket; nobody can bowl fast for the amount of cricket they are been in.”  In an interview with Breakfast with Champions, one of the scariest fast bowlers of West Indies in that golden era, Michael Holding suggested.  

Reflecting on the fact of why a fast bowler can’t bowl fast and furious on every day of a calendar, he pointed out how Pakistani Fast bowler Wahab Riaz had bowled against the Australians; particularly Shane Watson during the 2015 World Cup Quarter-final. It did somewhat was the sum up of how the kangaroos had disappointed him when he was in the middle with the stick in hand. “Not just upset him, but he can’t do it” advised Holding that he can’t be in the same rhythm in all the weeks because his body will not allow him for that even being so angry.

Different Style for alternate places:

It’s not about only bowling fast but there is something extra energetic when they ran in with the round-shape material. From the likes of Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar or the man from South Africa who recently hang his shoes off, I am speaking about Dale Steyn. The fear you have as a top-order batsman of facing the in-form Steyn gun on the eve of the 1st day of a test match at any ground no matter what the conditions are, is of another level.

Watching him standing with the red nut flashing his eyes at you, it looks so scary; imagine yourself as someone who is going to play him for the very first time. From the bouncy tracks of South Africa or Australia to the swingy conditions of England or the dead tracks of Ind or other subcontinents, with the new ball or the old one, exploiting the art of reverse-swing, he was superb in all the departments. Remember Nagpur!!

In recent days, we have seen some of teams struggling against the tail, and those 20-30runs create a huge difference in the outcome of the game. But the proteas hardly suffered in that fashion and one of the big reasons for that was the pace of Steyn. In the 2021 Lord’s test, Root had plans of bowling short to Shami and Bumrah; I guess Steyn would have bowled short a few times but most of the times, he would had aim the furniture. His celebration after getting a wicket had been bringing an extra energy in the group.

Jimmy Anderson choosing Test Cricket always:

But I have seen some of the fans in the social media always made an argument that James Anderson, World’s best test Pacer and 3rd All-time highest Test wicket taker is always behind Steyn in the race. “Jimmy was a more skillful bowler than me” in an interview during the lockdown Steyn expressed it in a Sky Sports Show.

I just can not digest the fact. Steyn might have a better average and strike rate but you don’t often find a 40-year-old still running in the hard-yards in 2021, almost 18-years since he made his debut and still getting wickets for fun. Every time, he wakes up in the morning, his body will be etching in pain, the starching and fitness test, all the inspirations of a morning walk during the winter dragging himself off the bed, he had given immense respect to Test Cricket. You don’t earn a lot playing just one format; so, it’s not about money; he is living his dream of being a proper test bowler.

The Growth of Ishant Sharma:

And playing games after games, you earn a lot of experiences. Look at Ishant Sharma, who has already played 100+ games. Somehow, he has invented himself in a new mode in the last 2-3years. Just want to mention, I always have a great respect for the Fast bowlers coming from the sub-continents. In some of the games, you see your spinner friends being introduced with the new nut & I never love the fact. The fresh pacers should be given the chance to bowl with the new cherry.

All in all, it’s a great art and those artists are the pacers running as the labors. Often, they have to those donkey works of holding one end drying up the runs and trying to take help the team. The fast bowlers were running, are running and will keep on running.

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