Kapil Dev: Bowling fast alone doesn't help, you also have to swing the ball

Team India's first World Cup-winning captain, Kapil Dev, feels there have been batsmen who have scored thousands of runs but have also looked unhappy when facing genuine pace.

Andy Roberts' ability to bowl fast and move the ball at the same time helped him pick more wickets, says Kapil Dev.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Team India's first World Cup-winning captain, Kapil Dev, feels it's the fear that a bowler evokes in a batsman's eyes that makes him a fast bowler. "Just because you hit him doesn’t make you a fast bowler. When the ball passes the bat faster than you anticipate, it becomes fast bowling," Kapil told Sportstar in an exclusive chat.

According to the former all-rounder, cricketers know about this 'fear'. There have been batsmen who have scored thousands of runs but have also looked unhappy when facing genuine pace.

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Mixing pace and swing

"Even Sunil Gavaskar said that not every batsman enjoys playing fast bowling. Anyone who bowls 145-plus is a fast bowler. Anyone who beats the batsman with pace is a fast bowler. Anyone who makes the batsman duck is a fast bowler. It is not about hitting the batsman in the ribs or on the head," he said.

For Kapil, the only genuine fast bowler was Australian speedster Jeff Thompson. "He was just sheer pace," Kapil said.

"Dennis Lillee combined pace with swing. Malcolm Marshall also mixed movement and speed. Michael Holding, one of the finest athletes on the cricket field, had genuine pace but at the end of the day it was Andy Roberts who picked more wickets because he used to move the ball. Swing is important. When the ball moves you can’t consistently play well," he said.