Mitchell Johnson tells why we don't have fast bowlers
In an interview recently, Australian pace bowler Mitchell Johnson said that India does not produce many fast bowlers because the pitches are more suitable for spinners than pacers. While that may be true, there are many other elements which have led to scarcity of pacers in our country. Let us have a look at those factors in detail.
In the pre-independence period, Amar Singh and Mohammad Nissar were the only two fast bowlers in the first Indian cricket team that toured England for one test in 1932. These two took England by storm, dismissing the team on the very first day itself.
Due to absence of genuine pacers in the team, former Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi gave more chances to the spinners. In the 1960s, his efforts led to formation of the famous Indian quartet of Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Bishen Singh Bedi. With four world class spinners in the team, Indian squad did not feel any need to find pacers.
Being home to the 'God of Cricket', India has always been a batsmen dominated nation. From C. K. Nayudu, Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare to Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, India has been a breeding ground for the batsmen. This has led to negligence towards grooming of the upcoming fast bowlers.
Young Indian fast bowlers have very few role-models to look upto. Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan are a handful of Indian pacers who have made it big in the international circuit for a long period of time. India lacks the culture of fast bowling, which deters young cricketers to take up fast bowling.
Indians are not known to be athletic. On top of that, our eating habits make it difficult to maintain the fitness required to bowl at a speed of around 140-150 km/hour. Also, Indian pacers in the past have been prone to injuries. These factors might be changing but we still have a long way to go before we produce some genuine pace bowlers.