Nick Webb on how Bumrah, Shami, Siraj and Ishant trained

India's former strength and conditioning coach gives insights into the training regimes of four leading fast bowlers.

The pace bowling attack of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma have helped India achieve success on overseas tours in recent years.   -  AP

Nick Webb stepped down as India's strength and conditioning coach after the T20 World Cup in the UAE. Webb had been with the team since 2019, taking over from Shankar Basu, whose stint ended after the 50-over World Cup that year. Webb oversaw a period of sustained on-field success for India's lethal pace attack in Tests in Australia and England. Webb says the approach for each fast bowler is vastly different and depends on the individual, context, and where they are at on their physical performance journey. He uses examples of four leading pacers to explain the process.

"Jasprit Bumrah's action works for him. He hits on average 21km/h in his run-up, which is on the lower end for a pace bowler. But he generates his speed through an extremely braced front leg, hyper-extended bowling arm, and overall physical strength. That helps him handle the position he gets his body in, while efficiently transferring force from front foot to ball release," Webb tells Sportstar.

Former India strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb with Cheteshwar Pujara. Photo: RAJEEV BHATT   -  The Hindu


"We ensure he gets a good amount of strength training before long tours, or we utilise the T20 series as an opportunity to increase his strength training. When there is a gap in the tours schedule, we schedule a physical training block to complete. Strength maintenance on tour is key for his management. Being an all-format fast bowler, it’s been important that he is managed well and given enough time throughout the year away from match play to solely focus on his physical priorities and psychological recuperation – this will ensure his longevity across formats."

With Mohammed Shami, the focus was on his physical preparation. "Regular strength training is key for him to be able to support his bowling. It’s quite simple with Shami… bowl, eat, recovery & sleep, strength train [determined by playing schedule], repeat. He gets a lot of his conditioning by nature of just bowling [on average, he runs in at 24km/h]."

Webb says Ishant Sharma knows exactly what he needs. "That's the advantage of being a player who has played more than 100 Tests. We routinely completed “wicket” runs through his run-up using cones or hurdles which focused on his running mechanics, completed conditioning/fitness sessions focusing on what we termed “bowling density” after his bowling practice. He ran through his usual run-up [and other various distances], running toward the crease without actually bowling the ball. We reduced the time he had between efforts to less than what he would get between balls in a match – this forcing him to jog back. There were also heavy strength sessions to support the heap of force that goes through his body every time he bowls – up to 12x his body weight in force each time."

Siraj finished the Australia Test series in 2020-21 as the lead bowler of the Indian team. Photo: GETTY IMAGES   -  GETTY IMAGES


Mohammed Siraj, who made his debut in the Boxing Day Test against Australia in 2020, is still relatively new to five-day cricket. "We were more direct in terms of what his days looked like. We aimed to do the basics extremely well but collaborated in a way to ensure he was learning through the process as well the short to medium-term goal for Siraj is self-sufficiency and consistency in routine throughout a series," Webb says.

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