Saini has been a revelation this season

Indian fast bowlers make a mark

Updated - May 14, 2019 10:51 pm IST

Published - May 14, 2019 09:54 pm IST - JAIPUR

Fast and furious: The highest speed RCB pacer Navdeep Saini clocked was 152.85 kmph.

Fast and furious: The highest speed RCB pacer Navdeep Saini clocked was 152.85 kmph.

During the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at Indore in 2011, the television producers thought there was something wrong with the speed gun. An Indian bowler clocking 149kmph?

Later on in the match, between Jharkhand and Gujarat, the same bowler’s speed showed 153kmph. Varun Aaron had arrived. But, it would be a while before the rest of the band of Indian fast bowlers — who could break that magical mark of 150kmph – joined him.

Nobody suspects the speed gun these days when an Indian quick is bowling. At the IPL this year, of the 63 balls delivered at speeds above 150kmph, 21 were from Indians.

Interestingly, 14 of those were from Navdeep Saini, who has been a revelation this season with his sheer pace.

The highest speed the Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer clocked was 152.85kmph. In fact, only Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada bowled quicker — 154.23kmph.

The other Indians in the IPL’s 150kmph club are Umesh Yadav (his quickest is 151.44kmph), Ishant Sharma (151.34), Mohammed Shami (150.65), Aaron (150.31), Jasprit Bumrah (150.41) and Prasidh Krishna (150.22).

Last year, no Indian could touch 150kmph, but 13 of the 50 fastest balls were bowled by Indians. When we take note of the fact that both in 2013 and 2014, only one Indian made it to that list, we will get a fair idea of how fast and far India’s fast men have travelled.

MRF Pace Foundation’s role

Much of the credit for the revolution of Indian in fast bowling goes to the Chennai-based MRF Pace Foundation. Its chief coach M. Senthilnathan is delighted to find the impact Indian pacers are having at the IPL.

“India is producing so many quality pace bowlers that we no longer have to depend on those from overseas,” says Sethilnathan. “I have worked with Saini only for a short while, but it was great to watch him clocking above 150kmph consistently.”

You don’t have to be so fast to be effective at the IPL, as bowlers like Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Warrier, when he finally got a chance, proved.

“Bowlers like Sandeep underline the depth of the fast-bowling resources in India,” he said. “It was unfortunate, though, that bowlers like Avesh Khan and Ankit Rajpoot didn’t get enough opportunities.”

Waiting in the wings

And waiting in the wings are teenagers like Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. Former New Zealand fast bowler Danny Morrison had watched them at the Under-19 World Cup in his country last year and was impressed.

“In my playing days, India had Javagal Srinath, but not anybody else like him,” says Morrison, who has been watching the Indian quicks closely as a commentator.

“Those days it was Pakistan that was producing quicks, as Imran Khan inspired bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed and Mohammed Akram.”

Nearly three decades later, their Indian cousins too are charging in and hurrying the batsmen.

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