Indian cricket has long been associated with its prolific batsmen, but in recent decades, the country has also produced a remarkable assembly of world-class bowlers.
This evolution signifies a paradigm shift in the way the game is perceived in India, where once the bat dominated, now the ball is making its mark.
Historically, Indian cricket's bowling prowess was often overshadowed by its batting greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. However, the emergence of players like Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, and Zaheer Khan in the 1990s laid the foundation for India's bowling renaissance.
These stalwarts demonstrated that Indian bowlers could be potent on both home and foreign pitches. The top bookmakers in India have all kinds of markets with them.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the Indian cricketing landscape is teeming with extraordinary bowling talents. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have made a significant impact on the international stage.
Bumrah, with his unconventional action and deadly yorkers, has become a global sensation, while Ashwin's cunning spin variations have befuddled the best of batsmen. The Indian Premier League (IPL) has played a pivotal role in nurturing and showcasing this burgeoning talent.
Young bowlers have the opportunity to rub shoulders with international stars, honing their skills and gaining invaluable experience.
However, in recent times, it has been observed that the pace attack in India, being impactful, has been a short-running career.
As soon as a pace bowler shines with his performance in international cricket, his career declines with double the speed it shined. A recent example is the talented swing maestro Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Problems with Pace Attack in India
Pace bowling is one of the most important parts of the team but India has always struggled to maintain the quality of pace bowlers. The consistency and longevity of a career is the major issue. Bowling is a very demanding aspect of cricket.
A bowler bowls multiple spells in ODI and Test format and it requires the body to be well prepared for the same higher level of athleticism. Fast bowling is physically demanding, and the risk of injuries is higher compared to spin bowling.
Many promising fast bowlers have had their careers hampered by injuries, discouraging young talents from choosing the fast-bowling path.
While sports science and rehabilitation have made significant advancements in recent years, India has been slower to adopt these practices. Proper injury management, physiotherapy, and strength conditioning are crucial for fast bowlers' longevity, and inadequate support in these areas can lead to shorter careers.
As compared to teams like Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa, and New Zealand, India has very less facilities to make sure that good care is taken of a talented pace bowler.
Another primary reason for the sudden decline in the career of Indian pacers is that Indian cricket faces a heavy workload and there is very little rotation of players in the team when it comes to bowling. Indian fast bowlers often shoulder a heavy workload, especially on unresponsive subcontinent pitches.
They are expected to perform consistently in all formats of the game, which can lead to burnout and fatigue, further increasing the risk of injuries.
BCCI and the selection committee focus very little on dividing the responsibility among the bowlers. Considering the amount of talent the Indian sub-continent produces, we can have different bowlers for different formats of the game.
Unlike some other cricketing nations, India has been slow to adopt rotation policies for its fast bowlers. Managing workload through rotation can extend careers, but Indian cricket has sometimes relied heavily on a few key pacers, leading to overuse.