Vikram Rathour: Pace bowling quality in domestic cricket has improved

Vikram Rathour, whose international career never took off like the dizzy heights he scaled in the domestic circuit has no regrets and is now enjoying his passion — coaching.

As a former national selector, Vikram Rathour is not surprised at the success of Mayank Agarwal in Australia. (FILE IMAGE)   -  The Hindu Photo Library

Vikram Rathour was one among the few Indian cricketers who made their debut in the summer of 1996, but his international career never took off like the dizzy heights he scaled in the domestic circuit.

Looking back, the 49-year-old has no regrets and is now enjoying his passion — coaching.

“I was given a chance but I failed to grab my opportunities. In those days you didn’t get many chances like today’s youngsters and you had to make them count. I tried my best but it was not enough.

"It’s part of life and you move on and do things which you like. After retiring I took a break, went to England and came back to become a national selector. But coaching was always my passion and it is something which I enjoy doing,” said Rathour.

He feels the quality of pace bowling in domestic cricket has improved a lot from the time he was a player and it is one of the reasons of India’s increased bench strength in that department.

“If you look at the domestic scene in India, almost all states have one or two players who can bowl between 135 and 140kmph. When I was playing there were only a few who could bowl at that range.

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"They would be doing international duty and didn’t play domestic cricket. So it was difficult for the batsmen when they faced quality bowlers who could swing the ball at pace on overseas tours.

"The present Indian batsmen are more adept in playing pace bowling than the batsmen of my era. The quality of competition has also improved as we are seeing more upsets in the Ranji Trophy,'' he said.

As a former national selector, Rathour is not surprised at the success of Mayank Agarwal in Australia. “I have been seeing him play for the last five years and am not at all surprised with his success. He made the transition pretty quickly and showed maturity,” he said.

Rathour, who played in the golden era of Punjab cricket, said one of the high points of his career was winning the Ranji Trophy and he has high hopes from the current Punjab team.

“We had some good players then and Bishan Singh Bedi was a hard taskmaster. We won the Ranji Trophy in 1995 and some of us who played in that team also went on to represent India.

“The current Punjab team is full of exciting talent. Shubman Gill is an India material and we also have quality players like Gurkeerat Mann and Mandeep Singh.”

He is also happy with the progress Himachal Pradesh made this season despite failing to qualify.

“We beat strong teams like Punjab and Tamil Nadu. We could have done better. None can take us lightly and we are no longer the punching bags for strong teams,” Rathour said.

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