Not long ago, the Indian team would dominate visiting sides with its spin bowling prowess. But with time and a changed mindset, the country’s fast bowlers have come to the fore across formats.
This home season, India’s three spinners took 37 wickets between them, while the three fast bowlers took 59 – in the absence of premier seam bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
The likes of Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have not only maintained their domination over the top batsmen of the world, but have also inspired young cricketers to take up fast bowling seriously.
Former India captain and National Cricket Academy (NCA) director Rahul Dravid believes that with the senior team bowlers becoming role models, the younger crop is motivated to follow suit.
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“What Ishant, Shami, Umesh, Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and Bumrah are doing is they are actually in a way becoming role models for a younger generation of boys, who believe now they can be successful as fast bowlers in India. I think it is great to see,” Dravid said on Thursday on the sidelines of India under-19 team’s fourth One-Dayer against Afghanistan under-19 side at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
“Obviously we had people like Kapil (Dev), Sri (Javagal Srinath), Zaheer (Khan) in the past. But now, as a group, probably this is one of the best fast bowling attacks we have ever had. I think that’s a great inspiration for a lot of these young boys,” Dravid said.
Having coached the India under-19 team that won the World Cup last year, Dravid is confident of India’s chances at the next edition in 2020. “Now, at the under-19 level, we have very good fast bowlers. Last time (during the 2018 under-19 World Cup), we had three of them – Kamlesh (Nagarkoti), Shivam (Mavi) and Ishan (Porel). This year, you will also see some good fast bowlers in the team. That’s been fantastic. I think when you have role models and you have heroes like the senior team (it’s encouraging)…” the former India captain said.
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Indian coaches in the IPL
After quitting the game in 2012, Dravid was associated with Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils as a mentor. Having watched the IPL scene closely, Dravid believes the franchises should utilise Indian coaches more.
“I believe we have got some very good coaches, a lot of good people. I’m fully confident (in their ability). Just as we have a lot of talent in the cricket department, we have a lot of talent in the coaching department as well. We need to give them confidence and time to flourish. I’m sure they will do it. It does sometimes disappoint me when a lot of our boys don’t get opportunities as assistant coaches in the IPL,” Dravid said.
“Honestly, there are so many Indian players in the IPL, there’s so much local knowledge (among our coaches). I feel a lot of teams could actually benefit from using a lot of our Indian coaches in the IPL. They know the Indian players better, they understand them better. Even as assistant coaches… there is a lot of talent and ability,” Dravid said.
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As director of the NCA, Dravid is also trying to help coaches. “We’ve hired Sujith now, who has come on as head of education. A part of our goal is to create a programme for coaches as well so that we can give them certain skills which they can develop, and hopefully then get the opportunities to work at a slightly higher level. I think a lot of IPL teams miss a trick by not using more domestic talent in the coaching area and the talent identification area, even if it is as assistants,” he said.
In the recent past, overseas teams like South Africa and Australia have appointed specialist Indian support staff ahead of their tours to India or South Asia. While Australia hired S. Sriram as a spin consultant, South Africa roped in Amol Muzumdar as batting coach for the Test series against India.
And for the last few years, even the Indian cricket team has gone for domestic coaching staff. “Indian cricket’s coaching staff is completely Indian and they are doing a fantastic job. It’s not for me to decide for franchises and head coaches what they do, but I think they miss a trick by not involving more Indian coaches.
“Every IPL team has at least 17-18 Indian players. It’s my personal view, but I would love to see a lot of our boys get the opportunity to be in and around that environment. Hopefully, we can work with some teams to try and ensure that,” Dravid said.