Indian fast bowlers are a strange species. Why are you laughing? Okay fine Indian faster-than-spinners bowlers. So yes, they are a strange species. Of all the things they could have done in these dustbowls of stadiums they chose faster-than-spinners bowling. That’s like taking up golf while living in Sahara or beach volleyball in Antarctica.
Fast bowlers thrive in pitches that have some life in them. Indian faster-than-spinners bowlers learn to thrive on pitches that have as much life in them as a strip of bacon. Year after year they toil away under the blazing sun on these sand-traps they call pitches, learning how to get the batsmen out even in the most unhelpful conditions. And they do it without any complaints.
Once in a while they get the opportunity to bowl on pitches that have more grass on them than the fields they grew up playing on. Tours of Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa are like a dream come true for any faster-than-spinners bowler. When they get to bowl in helpful condition either they behave like a hustler in a pool hall or a kid in a strip club. Some of them torment the batsmen like never before while others torment their captains with over enthusiastic rubbish bowling.
But lately the Indian faster-than-spinners bowlers have been having trouble on these very trips where they have the best opportunity to finally get one up on the batsmen who cart them all over the place on the sub-continental pitches.
First in England, they just couldn’t wait to get back home. Not just the batsmen, in whose case it was understandable, but even the bowlers were queuing up to take the next flight back. They were breaking down faster than the Commonwealth Games infrastructure. It got so bad that India had to recall RP Singh, whose fitness levels showed that he had physically retired from the game.
And now when the tour down under reckons, the bowlers are ruling themselves out even before the tour begins. First Zak was a provisional pick. While, allegedly, Sreesanth’s MRI scan ruled him out of any future tours. Then the discovery of the England tour, PK, broke down. And now the supposed genuine fast bowler, Varun Aaron, has been replaced by the as-fast-as-boom-boom’s-quicker-one Vinay Kumar. With Harbhajan Singh also not in contention for the tour, India is really lacking in faster-than-spin-bowling department.
Are the Indian faster-than-spinners bowlers extra fragile? Or have they been abused too much by the batsmen? Perhaps it is best for India that these bowlers don’t get exposed to good bowling conditions. After all they have to return to the same dustbowls. And what a heartbreak that would be!