Why India Couldn't Produce Good Fast Bowlers In the Past
Currently, India has a great fast bowling line-up. In 2018, the Indian fast bowling line-up came close to breaking the record of most wickets taken by a triplet of fast bowlers of one country in the test cricket. India has produced a lot of good fast bowlers in the last few years but this wasn't the case in the past.
Let's see why India couldn't produce good fast bowlers in the past but teams like Pakistan, Australia, etc were quite successful in this regard.
There are a few reasons why India didn't get a lot of good fast bowlers in the past. One of the biggest reasons is the Indian pitches. Indian pitches are considered flat and dusty. Flat pitches aren't considered good for bowling but <b>dust on the pitch gives spin bowlers an advantage</b>.
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As Indian pitches supported spin more than pace bowling, Indian team selectors preferred spinners over, fast bowlers. While traveling outside of the country wouldn't be very common in those days as well so India was satisfied playing spin bowlers and dominating in India.
Another big reason was young <b>Indian bowlers had a lot of idols for spin bowling</b> which started with the spin quartet of <b>Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar, and Bishan Singh Bedi.</b> They were so successful and Indian captains decided not to tamper with a plan which is working for them. The idea of playing spinners as India's main bowling attack started with Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi who realized that India is short of good fast bowling talent and hence went for 4 spinners bowling line-up.
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Ever since then, Indian captains had spinners as their main bowlers while fast bowlers acted like support bowlers. We can see this trend under other Indian captains as well. Azharuddin had Anil Kumble and Ajay Jadeja, Ganguly and Dravid had Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, Dhoni went for Ashwin, Amit Mishra, and Jadeja and they are still playing under Virat Kohli.
But the plan didn't work outside of India. Under Virat Kohli's captaincy, India decided to have a better bowling line-up for playing in countries like Australia, SA, England, etc. We can see how India's bowling line-up change while playing outside Asia and while playing in India.
<b><center><h2>Why Other Countries Were Successful</b></center></h2>
Talking about Pakistan, Pakistan always had pitches that supported a good amount of swing. While Indian fast bowlers didn't have a national idol to look upon, Pakistan had players like <b>Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram</b>, etc. They are also credited for inventing reverse swing which remained Pakistan's secret for quite a long time as bowlers of other countries couldn't replicate the ball.
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The same is the case for countries like Australia and England. Australia had some legendary bowlers like <b>Jeff Thompson, Glenn McGrath, Dennis Lillee</b>, etc. While we all know how good are Australian and English pitches are for fast bowling. This made conditions ideal for Australian and English fast bowlers.
In summary, the main reason why India didn't have a good fast bowling line-up for a long time was that <b>Indian pitches supported spin bowlers</b> more than pace bowlers making it easier for spinners to survive in the team and Indian <b>fast bowlers didn't have "national heroes"</b> who could inspire them. All these factors didn't allow Indian fast bowlers to groom in India.
Though conditions have changed in the last few years and hopefully India will continue to produce good fast bowlers.
- Ojas Srivastava, 08:17 PM, 27 Oct, 2021