Pace not as vital as accuracy, says Paras Mhambrey

The India U-19 bowling coach, who groomed prospects like Ishan Porel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, says the IPL auction time was a challenging phase for the World Cup team and the boys didn’t let it affect the game.

India's Shivam Mavi in action at the recently concluded ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.   -  AFP

Thanks to the speed gun readings consistently crossing the 140kmph-mark whenever they ran in to bowl, India’s pace unit was one of the talking points of the recently-concluded Under-19 World Cup.

As if their bowling exploits were not enough, the fact that both pacers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti fetched in excess of ₹3 crore each in last month’s Indian Premier League player auction has catapulted them into the big league.

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Paras Mhambrey, their bowling coach, however feels the young pace bowlers are still some distance away from being a finished product for First-Class cricket let alone being ready for international cricket.

“They are a little far away. Yes they have done well at the U19 level, yes they have hit certain speed levels. If you look at the challenges at the First-Class level, the quality of batting, its going to be a while for them,” Mhambrey said after the team’s return from New Zealand.

“They need to go through the First-Class grind. They’ll experience failures and successes and they’ll eventually evaluate themselves. It’s important as a fast bowler, it’s not just the ability to bowl fast.

“It is also about understanding how to bowl, understanding your body, the conditions, the wicket. I think it’s too early for me to say they are ready,” he added.

Mhambrey, a former India pacer, has been involved in multiple state team set-ups and an Indian Premier League unit before taking over as the Under-19 and India A bowling coach when Rahul Dravid was appointed at the helm of affairs in 2015.

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“The experienced coach said that the youngsters understand that they have some way to go before knocking on the doors of the national selectors.

“These boys are quite matured. The IPL auction was a challenging phase for us. But they showed maturity when they went on the field after that. Obviously it was a happy moment for them,” he said.

“The IPL is a big tournament, everyone wants to play in such a tournament. Its not just about the money or the hype. They are aware that its an opportunity to rub shoulders with the top bowlers and batsmen of the world. And pick the minds of the top coaches of the world. I think they have cool heads on their shoulders.”

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Having kick-started Vidarbha’s emergence as a consistent team on the domestic circuit, Mhambrey was neither surprised with Vidarbha winning the Ranji title nor with his Under-19 wards dominating the World Cup.

“There was no surprise in both teams achieving success. The foundation at Vidarbha was laid two years back when I was there. Here (Under-19) as well, there was a foundation in place so there was no surprise,” Mhambrey concluded

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