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Indian bowlers should play County cricket

By Javagal Srinath
April 20, 2005 08:26 IST
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The winning atmosphere is perhaps the best possible ground for learning. This series did provide several such learning platforms for the young Pakistan brigade to gain and graduate. On the contrary, the Indian team has lost a lot, only to indicate that the problems are deep down.

A quick glance at the players' statistics of both the sides gives interesting information. The difference in averages is minimal when compared between the Indian top scorers to that of Pakistan performers. The runs scored in partnership have more relevance to the result than the runs scored by the individuals.

Individuals scoring huge runs are usually termed as batsmen in form, but it has been conquered by batsmen batting in pairs and contributing meaningfully to the team.

Bowlers bowling with the attitude of going for the wickets have succeeded more than the bowlers who looked for containment. On such flat tracks, it's the attitude that makes all the difference. The bowler's positive and attacking intentions exhibited to batsman is extremely important in this physiological game. That was exactly the battle we saw between Naveed Rana and our batsmen. Nobody else deserved the man of the series award more than Rana.

Rana not only came to terms with the slow wickets but also understood Indian batsmen very well. Giving away few runs during run riots didn't perturb him as he came back into the attack with better ideas. The consistent line he bowled throughout the series showed the conviction and belief in his own ability to trouble the best Indian batsmen.

On the other side, our bowlers struggled to deliver. The bowling department went through mindless chopping and changing, which demonstrated the captain's lack of confidence in his bowlers. Irfan lost his form whereas Ashish went for too many runs .Our fast bowlers, after having played at the international level for more than six years, still find it difficult to secure a place in the eleven. In fact, the senior most bowler, Ashish Nehra, started decently in the series only to finish on a very ordinary note.

My personal opinion is that the bowlers have not bowled adequate numbers of overs in their careers. Neither they have bowled enough at the international level, nor they look keen to bowl at the domestic level. Injuries seem to be the reason for their exit every now and then. Whatever may be the reason, be it injury or the loss of form, it is the team which suffers in the end.

It wasn't too long ago the great potentials like Irfan and Balaji joined Zaheer and Nehra. But today with Irfan dropped and Zaheer and Ashish still uncertain to make the eleven, India's fast bowling future looks hazy.

Our bowlers must look up to county cricket in the break to come back to shape and form. Every bowler has gained while playing in the county circuit. If the Indian cricket management is professional enough, it must monitor the activities of the players during the coming break of three months.

With no coach named, no leader confirmed and the incumbent captain banned for six games and also no tracking of players' engagements during the break, it all seems highly unprofessional. If the BCCI doesn't pick up a coach at the earliest and allow him to take stock of the resources and plan for the upcoming season, the Indian team may sink further.

The selectors should follow and look into the players' activity during the next couple of months. With hardly any domestic cricket, the selectors have a challenging task to see the form of the players before selecting the next team. The common practice is to have a selection game, which is a weak process. The English County circuit may be an answer for our bowlers to show commitment to their cricket. But then, how many can walk into their county side?

Srinath's previous columns:
- India must overcome the 'Afridi effect'
- A break will benefit Ganguly
- The toss is proving decisive
- Declining role of bowlers is worrying
- Dhoni should have been spotted earlier
- Pakistan should reconsider batting order
- India need to contain Afridi
- Instability showing in the Indian team
- Much ado about Bhajji's 'doosra'
- Sachin's partnerships with Rahul were crucial
- Looking for a fifth dimension in bowling
- A story of courageous fighting

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Javagal Srinath

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