Speed guns learn a few tricks

YOUNG ’UNS National selector Venkatapathy Raju with the Hyderabadi speedsters

YOUNG ’UNS National selector Venkatapathy Raju with the Hyderabadi speedsters  

Six fast bowlers of the Hyderabad zone were selected for a programme held at Gymkhana Grounds

Fast bowlers have always played a key role and in the past some of the best teams such as West Indies and Australia rose to the top of the world rankings mainly on their strength and depth in fast bowling.

When West Indies had bowlers such as Malcolm Marshal, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner, it was an unbeatable team.

Similarly Australia climbed to unprecedented heights when it had the services of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson among others.

A programme was recently conducted in various cities called Gatorade Pacers 2009 which was aimed at spotting talented fast bowlers and grooming them from an young age.

When the Hyderabad leg was conducted at Gymkhana grounds, six bowlers were identified.

The boys were selected by a panel led by former player and national selector Venkatapathy Raju, and former India fast bowler and now coach T.A. Sekar.

The boys were divided into three age groups and then put through a process which involved evaluation of their pace bowling skills by measuring bowling speed with a speed gun and also an expert assessment of action, fitness, accuracy and potential of the bowler.

The Hyderabad region zonal round winners in the different age groups were K. Sreedharahas and K. Raja Ravi in the under-15 group, K. Chandrakanth and Md. Zaheer Ali with Irfan Khan (as standby) in the under-19 group, M.A. Basheer and R. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy with Md. Irfanullah Khan (as standby) in the under-22 group.

The under-15 winners will be trained further in the city while under-19 and under-22 winners will participate in the National Selection Camp to be held at New Delhi in February.

Venkatapathy Raju, former player and national selector was of the opinion that the programme would inculcate a spirit of scientific training among the budding players.

“This initiative is significant since it presents a great opportunity to deserving bowlers and it also inculcates the culture of sports science from an young age. Aspects like optimal hydration and proper nutrition are strong performance differentiators once you have similar skill and fitness levels. During my time, we learnt this the hard way. But now initiatives like this are exposing the young players , and also coaches and administrators, to the importance of these aspects,” said Raju.

The Gatorade Pacers scheme was launched in Delhi in December and after a process of registrations across India, the zonal rounds were conducted. In Hyderabad it attracted as many as 787 participants some of whom even came from districts such as Adilabad and Anantapur.

A total of 28 talented bowlers will be picked to go through a structured training-cum-selection session to be conducted by T.A. Sekar, Javagal Srinath and Gatorade Master Trainer Nisha Verma in Delhi.

The national winners will be groomed by T.A. Sekar through various structured training programs.


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