India is not one of the countries to have a rich fast bowling culture in the team and not many top bowlers from the subcontinent side have been pacers. The current Indian pace attack looks promising and would most probably dominate the world’s best batsmen in the coming years if they remain fit enough.
However, it was difficult to be a pacer in India as not many former greats could chip in with inputs all the time and the bowlers would have to develop themselves on their own. Despite the challenges a fast bowler usually faces, three Indian seamers managed to pick over 500 international wickets for the country and steal their spinners’ thunder in away conditions at times.
These three Indian pacers are a bit different in the way they approached their bowling. Let’s have a look who these three are:
1) Kapil Dev – The Haryana Hurricane relied on his swinging the ball and he could do it even in Indian conditions where the atmosphere and the grass on the pitch (or the lack of it) doesn’t allow the fast bowler to take advantage. Dev bowled brilliant out-swingers from right-arm over-the-wicket and always targeted the top of off-stump as they note in the textbooks of fast bowling. Not to forget, he is one of the most injury-less pacer in world cricket.
He took an incredible 687 wickets for India in 448 innings across formats at a bowling average of just 28.83. Kapil was by far the best Indian pacer who kept taking wickets and also curb the run-rate which are usually a single characteristic of bowlers. His economy rate is a mere 3.05 despie bowling over 6000 overs at the highest level. His tally of 24 five-wicket hauls is the best for an Indian pacer with the next in list not even getting to 15. His best bowling figures of 9/83 in an innings is the best for an Indian seamer.
His primary achievement being India’s mainstay as an all-rounder in their first-ever World Cup trophy win in 1983.
Keep checking Live cricket score to watch India’s gen-next bowlers make their way up this list!
2) Zaheer Khan – Without a doubt the most successful left-arm-pacer produced by India, Zaheer Khan gave India the hope of winning Tests outside India, especially in England. Like Kapil was a mainstay in 1983, Zak was India’s primary opening bowler in their 2nd World Cup victory in 2011. He ended up being the joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament and bowled three crucial maiden overs in the Final.
He has picked up 597 international wickets for India in just 373 innings. Khan provided the new ball boost that the side needed in overcast and swinging conditions. He was incredible against left-handers. His top four bunnies in international cricket are all southpaws. The elite list consists of Graeme Smith (14 times), Sanath Jayasuriya (11), Kumar Sangakkara (10) and Matthew Hayden (10). He picked 12 five-wicket hauls across formats in his 14-year-long international career.
3) Javagal Srinath – The pacer from Karnataka is third on the list and is the only Indian speedster apart from Dev and Khan to pick 500 wickets at the international level. Regarded as India’s fastest bowler at one point of time, Srinath used to hit the pitch hard and bowled a heavy ball. He used his inswinging cutters to perfection as variations and bamboozled the best of batsmen from around the world.
He also had developed a good slower one that he used invariably in One-Day cricket and he became even more difficult to hit in the death overs. Srinath picked 551 wickets for India in 348 innings at an average of 29.11 and picked the second-most five-wicket hauls (13) for the country across formats. He would have been an even better pacer if his stamina improved, but the aging never helped him.