According to Brett Lee, mental fortitude is as important as physical strength for a fast bowler
The mind is the most important element. “You must have a strong mind. If you had asked me to play pain free I would not have played a game since I was sixteen. There are some people who feel a lightly sore leg or a sore ankle or a sore knee and they walk off and have three or four weeks of rest, but you have got to go beyond it and achieve a high pain threshold.” This is what one of the fastest bowlers of all time, Brett Lee, said at the unveiling of the next Cricket World Cup that will be hosted by Australia and New Zeland in 2015.
The building of a strong and determined mind requires hours and hours of hard training. A young player who aspires to become a fast bowler must take every opportunity to play and should never attempt to conserve his energy: each situation must be seen as a challenge to bowl faster. However, in doing so, a bowler must be careful because bowling fast can be heavily stressful for muscles, joints and tendons and can lead to annoying injuries.
A fast bowler has to build a musculature that is appropriate to his needs. “What I see these days is that too many young fast bowlers are sent to the gym to train with heavy weights in order to pump their muscles and they become too baggy, their muscles aren’t supple, while a good fast bowler has to be strong but thin, and he has got to be quick and whippy,” Lee added.
If the muscles are too swollen, they are not elastic and the risk of injury is much higher. Anyway, as the career of Brett Lee testifies, an injury can happen and a cricketer must be sure to undergo the correct rehabilitation process and take care of his body, train hard and be patient in order to regain full fitness: neglecting physiotherapy to get back to the field as soon as possible can only be dangerous.
Pitches and their characteristics are also very important for fast bowling. India has a weather that is often muggy and many fields are tough and without grass, a problem that makes it really hard to train young children who want to become fast bowlers: the bounce is not very good and you will need twice the force to achieve the same speed. This problem, however, can hardly be solved with hard training: it is more about building good pitches.