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Modern day Cricket doesn't have Great Bowlers

January 24, 2012  by: S. Chowdhury  Points: 12   Category: Cricket  Earning $0.75   Views: 925

Unlike the past decades the present modern day cricket doesn't have any great bowler to challenge the batsman to the full. Hence the batsman are finding it a little easier to score and piling up the runs to tumble records. Various reasons are responsible for making the game of cricket such skewed towards the batsman, while the bygone times remind us of great bowlers who embellished the game.


Cricket is generally presumed to be a batsman's game and hence they are the ones who get most of the accolades of a good performance. Bowlers, fielders, wicketkeepers and even the umpires - even though not actively participating in the game itself - to some extent are the unsung heroes of the game. The bowlers, fielders and wicketkeepers put much more effort than the batsman not only to excel in their respective disciplines but also to brush up their skills yet they aren't praised the way a batsman is being praised or adored by the spectators for a top-class performance. That's the sad reality of the game all players have got used to by now.

But what most of us fail to understand is that the duals between a batsman and a bowler of top quality is what enriches the game and takes it to superlative levels. That is what the average spectator of the game is probably forgetting in the age of twenty-twenty cricket where boundaries fly thick and fast and most bowlers are taken to the cleaners. For the knowledgeable spectator of the game and also for top-class players Test Cricket holds the esteemed position and tag as 'Real Cricket' as always has been and will be so till the game stoops down to such a level that Test Cricket would die a tame end being unable to draw any spectator in the ground. I think Cricket - the Gentleman's game - should be referred by a different name then.

Test Cricket is Real Cricket

But even Test Cricket has also gone down some levels because of the retirement of some top-class bowlers from the game and nobody from the current generation of bowlers being able to fill the huge voids left by them. This is my personal assessment and many experts of the game would surely agree with it. I am not saying that the present bowlers are of poor quality but they aren't up to the level of what can be called as 'great bowlers'. They are good bowlers at best and don't have the capability of running through a side or at least the tail-enders with some consistency. Hence even though batsman gets challenged to some extent but not up to the degree a great bowler would test them.

In the eighties when West Indian Cricket ruled the game they were famous mainly because of their pace battery, which comprised the likes of Malcom Marshall, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, etc. They not only terrorized the batsman with their fiery pace and bounce but also they were at the batsman at all times. There was no respite while you were within the 22 yards. Even in the nineties the likes of Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh tested the batsman to a great extent. Sadly their present crop of fast bowlers are not even half as good as the names I mentioned and is one of the main reason behind their continuous decline after seeing such a golden era of majestic cricketers who ruled the game for decades.

West Indian Former Great Fast Bowlers

If you think about Australia then one of the main reasons behind their dominance and the ability to snatch the crown from the West Indies and being able to stay in the zenith for more than a decade is due to the likes of great bowlers like Glen McGrath and Shane Warne. They not only were able to put the opposition under the mat on a consistent basis but also were able to inspire other bowlers like Brett Lee, Stuart McGill, Jason Gillespie, etc. to perform several notches above their potential. Even in the eighties Australia had fiery fast bowlers like Dennis Lillie and Jeff Thomson who would challenge any batsman on a given day but they weren't able to dominate the game then as the Windies were better than them then.

Australian Great Bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne

Even Pakistan, which is basically a sub-continental team, saw the likes of great fast bowlers like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, etc. over the years. Their presence in the team made Pakistan a real formidable fast bowling unit in those years and gave them the impetus to succeed at the highest level of the sport. Even lowly rated teams like New Zealand had also a great bowler like Richard Hadle in their ranks, who was a master of swing bowling.

Pakistan Great Fast Bowler Imran Khan

India concentrated mainly on their spin attack in the earlier stages with the likes of Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar and Venkataraghavan ruling the roost in the seventies till a gentleman by the name of Kapil Dev appeared in the scene to change the equation completely. He broke the barrier and became not only India's greatest fast bowler ever but also one of the greats of the game because of his all-round performance. In the later years though his speed diminished considerably as the dead pitches of India took a toll on him. Still his swing bowling was quite potent. New crop of fast bowlers started to appear in the Indian team after his arrival, being inspired by him but sadly none were as good as he was.

India's Greatest Fast Bowler Kapil Dev

These were just a few examples from the golden era of cricket where top-class cricketers from various countries ruled the game of cricket and many of them were really great fast and spin bowlers. I am not saying for once that only a potent bowling attack can win matches for a team if its batting power is next to nothing. There needs to be a balance of both the aspects but what even the experts say is that unless you have bowlers to take twenty wickets in a Test Match a team cannot win consistently and become the best or one of the best.

The presence of so many great bowlers in those times made the task of a batsman very tough, ensuring that only the best of the best excel. Sadly in the present modern day cricket things are not the same. Now even good batsman can score plenty of runs as they are not tested to the hilt on a consistent basis because of the lack of great bowlers as I said earlier, whereas in the earlier stages only great batsman excelled and took on the challenge of competing with great bowlers. For the real lovers of Test Cricket the battle between the bat and the ball of that degree was a joy to watch.

The reason why great bowlers are not produced more consistently nowadays can be contributed to several factors. Firstly, there is too much cricket happening presently which hardly gives a bowler breathing space to work on his game and also remain injury-free. Secondly, for some reason (maybe because of too much cricket) pitches of major venues around the world aren't that lively as they used to be earlier making the job of a bowler even tougher. Thirdly, the dominance of the shorter version in the game and the newest trend of twenty overs cricket have put several restrictions on a bowler that stops him from going all-out after the batsman and the batsman can get away even with loose shots. Fourthly and probably the most important one is that, I'm not sure most of the present bowlers are ready to put-in the hard work that goes behind the making of a great bowler.

All of those reasons and maybe a few more have ensured that the game of cricket is deprived of great bowlers akin to the earlier decades and made the job of batsman a little bit easier. Having said that I must say that still only the best excels in Test Cricket as it has no place for mediocrity but they aren't challenged enough as they used to be earlier, that is what I am trying to say. As a result batting records are tumbling regularly and those who are good enough are just piling up the runs. Only on few occasions where a challenging batting track has surfaced somehow and some bowlers were able to put their head into their game we see a real contest. But they are few and far between. The rest is just mundane scoring and shot making, devoid of a real tussle between bat and ball.

Test Cricket is fast losing its ground as spectators are getting more hooked to the newest version of cricket (twenty-twenty cricket) besides one-day cricket and since the kind of money-making game cricket has become, it cannot survive without spectators. Therefore its uncertain what future is in store for Test Cricket and what changes come about in the coming times but one thing is for sure, Test Cricket will always be fondly remembered by those who really love and understand the game of cricket for the timeless classic battles between the bat and the ball!


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