India's growing pace strength: Players for the future

Indian cricket’s pace bowling revolution is reaching an apogee with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav displaying the skill and fitness to succeed on any pitch and different conditions. While the senior quicks have turned a corner with form, there’s a group of youngsters emerging with a bit of verve.

India’s depth in the fast-bowling department keeps it ahead of other international teams with the replacements being as good as the first-choice pacers.

Umran Malik of the Sunrisers Hyderabad   -  Sportzpics for IPL

  Umran Malik

Umran Malik has taken the Indian Premier League by storm with his searing pace and constantly clocking near 150 kmph. The 22-year-old from Jammu made heads turn in the last edition of the tournament, where he was drafted into the team by Sunrisers Hyderabad after travelling with the squad to the United Arab Emirates initially as a net bowler.

READ: Dale Steyn on Malik: He will play international cricket soon  

Umran made an impact instantly, clocking 150kmph-plus consistently, and eventually played two first-class matches for Jammu and Kashmir, claiming seven wickets after having made his red-ball debut with India A in South Africa this year.

He was retained by Sunrisers ahead of this year’s auction and the pacer has made the most of the opportunity, becoming one of the consistent performers for Sunrisers, and earning praises from the cricketing fraternity.


Kuldeep Sen of Rajasthan Royals   -  Sportzpics for IPL


Kuldeep Sen

Kuldeep Sen showed on his IPL debut why he is rated highly when he successfully defended 14 runs in the final over against the Lucknow Super Giants, bowling to Marcus Stoinis. What impressed most was Sen’s line in the last over; he stayed wide of Stoinis’ reach and ensured the Australian all-rounder couldn’t get under the ball and get the requisite elevation.

In 16 first-class matches, Sen has bagged 44 wickets, while he has four List A scalps. In the T20s, he has grabbed 12 wickets from 18 outings. He is still raw but can be developed into an asset.


Arshdeep Singh of Punjab Kings   -  Sportzpics for IPL

Arshdeep Singh

Arshdeep was one of only two retained players at Punjab Kings ahead of IPL 2022 and for good reason. In IPL 2021, Arshdeep snapped up 18 wickets from 12 outings, going at 8.27 runs per over. Arshdeep doesn’t have express pace yet, but the ability to bowl full and at the stumps between overs 16-20 makes him an exciting prospect. He has also shown the smarts to bluff the batsman by setting the field for a certain kind of delivery and then going ahead and bowling a different ball to catch the batsman off guard. The ever-evolving Arshdeep is fast becoming an India probable.


Kartik Tyagi of Rajasthan Royals   -  Saikat Das


Kartik Tyagi

Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop rates Tyagi highly. According to Bishop, Tyagi can be a rich addition to India’s fast bowling reserves. He swings the ball at pace and has an aggressive streak to his bowling. If he can streamline his run-up and angle of delivery on the crease, Tyagi could be a handful. In IPL 2021, playing for the Rajasthan Royals, Tyagi delivered a sensational final over against the Punjab Kings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, conceding just one as the Royals won by two runs.


Mukesh Choudhary of the Chennai Super Kings   -  Sportzpics for IPL

Mukesh Choudhary

The Chennai Super Kings fast bowler has been thrust into the limelight after new-ball bowler Deepak Chahar was ruled out of this year’s IPL due to injury. Choudhary came into his own in the match against the Mumbai Indians, making early inroads for CSK. His ability to swing the new ball and bowl probing lengths at a brisk pace saw him take out MI skipper Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan in the same over. Shortly after, he had the in-form Dewald Brevis to end with figures of 3 for 19 in his three overs.

READ: India’s fast bowling cupboard brimming full of talent, says Gavaskar

Kamlesh Nagarkoti

Kamlesh Nagarkoti has been one of the most talked-about young pacers after the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. A lively fast bowler, capable bat and brilliant fielder, he had all the boxes ticked to progress higher until injury impeded his path. He was drafted into the KKR squad but missed the 2018 and 2019 editions of IPL before playing 10 matches in 2020 and one in 2021. Nagarkoti was signed by Delhi Capitals for Rs 1.10 crore at the IPL 2022 mega auction. If he can stay fit, Nagarkoti has a bright future ahead.

Kamlesh Nagarkoti of Delhi Capitals   -  Sportzpics for IPL


Others in the fray

Even though speedometers rule the roost in international cricket, it is still not a widely used tool in domestic cricket, so most coaches and support staff analyse a fast bowler’s speed riding on their experience and assumption. Over the last couple of years, Jammu and Kashmir’s Aquib Nabi, Assam’s Hridip Deka and a few younger, rookie seamers have made their presence felt, often clocking about 140-145kmph-plus. While coaches, who have seen them closely, feel that even though the exact figure may vary ‘a bit’, these young guns have the potential and talent to emerge as genuine speedsters.

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