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Zunaid
August 26, 2012, 05:14 AM
Fast Bowling Lessons From Sri Lanka
Jeeshan Mirza
Nearly two decades ago, in the fishing town of Rathgama, south-west in Sri Lanka, a young boy started playing cricket in the beach. Despite his mother's protests the boy would rush to the beach every day after school to enjoy a game of cricket. The boys played tennis ball cricket in the sandy beaches against the sea breeze. To bowl quick in these conditions, the boy had to adapt his action and develop a strong upper body. Within 3 years time from that time, Lasith Malinga broke into the Sri Lankan national team. What lessons can the Tigers camp take away from the Sri Lankan model to produce the likes of Malinga or Vaas? Jeeshan Mirza provides some valuable insights studying the successes of his resident team.

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Zunaid
August 26, 2012, 05:16 AM
While our eyes are on SLPL, time to read this magnificent piece from Jeesh.

zinatf
August 26, 2012, 05:24 AM
Well written. Wish Bangladesh followed the 20 year campaign...or at least every school had mandatory sports activities for all students....no one could have dared to define us as "unfit" this could even solve our problems of not winning any gold in major athletic events like the Olympics...

Shaun petr
August 26, 2012, 06:09 AM
I am feeling bad right now. We actually don't have a world class fast Bowler! Huh! Why it is? Look at this Shafiul. Does this guy has single intention to improve his physique? Not at all. Is Shahadat a smart fast Bowler who thinks himself as SRK. Only rubel was improving by time but look at our luck he got injured! So frankly We don't have a single fast Bowler. But also our selection process is so horrible! Guy named Al Amin(don't confuse him with present u19 player) who took the highest wickets in domestic is not getting a single chance in A team also. You can include disgrace like dollar or rabiul or shahadat but not the real guy. Why? This guy is really underrated. No one talks bout him at all. Why? I loved his angular action. Also reasonably fast.
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AMD128
August 26, 2012, 06:30 AM
You were right about Shafiul & Shahadat. And also what about Nazmul. Who's termed as step son because he's always being Sidelined while delu's like ABUL makes way. And gets more chance. -__-

Gowza
August 26, 2012, 06:33 AM
Al Amin, Abu jayed guys like these need to be given higher honours. Rubel was developing nicely in the one-day format before injury. Mash is still our best pacer.

Tigers_eye
August 26, 2012, 09:15 AM
Well written. Wish Bangladesh followed the 20 year campaign...or at least every school had mandatory sports activities for all students....no one could have dared to define us as "unfit" this could even solve our problems of not winning any gold in major athletic events like the Olympics...
In the 80s when we went to school and college we had some tremendous athletes among us. We had a football player (1) who could score from beyond half field and ball control was beyond imagination (mesi type). He never lost to anyone in Table tennis in his entire life inside the college. He use to play Cricket, Hockey, Basketball, volleyball and was very good at those. Then again he stood 1st in SSC and 2nd in HSC. So instead of becoming an athlete he became an engineer (RIT - USA). In one of the regional soccer tournaments there he score 11 goals in 6 matches. Then settled in Australia. Another one, was a boss hockey and cricket player. Couldn't be stopped in the soccer field as well. As you can tell he was tremendously gifted in Basketball and Volleyball as well. SSC 10th, HSC 11th - same story BUET and then settled in CANADA. Another one SSC 5th, HSC 21st. he use to be Clive Loyd type in cricket field. Yup Engineer (USA) now settled in UAE. We had several talented athletes who could challenge BKSP (just started then). This is from only 56 students class without formal training in sports and heavily in to studies. I am sure every batch from any cadet college has classic athletes who could shine if they had concentrated in those field. Instead, like brain drain we all left the country and all the bad folks are running them now.

SS
August 26, 2012, 11:15 AM
Great article...agree when I see Malinga bowling one after another toe crashing yorker...and how Vaas dominated in his era...there are so much things to learn from that system that produced cricketers like them.

Dhakablues
August 26, 2012, 11:35 AM
Great article indeed.
There are few things to keep in mind... One. Fast bowlers are not 'manufactured'; A country is lucky sometimes to have good fast bowlers and it doesn't matter whether you have BKSP, NCA, Commonwealth Bank Academy,,, all you can do is train young fast bowlers but whether they will become Wasim Akram, Glen McGrath, Lasith Malinga or not,, it depends on factors that's beyond a board sometimes. With all the resources, India still has no other fast bowler after Zaheer Khan; Pakistan's Umar Gul is the last known fast bowler of recognition. Physique plays a major role in fast bowlers ability but that's to support the talent. A relatively skinier Gul, Glen McGrath or Dale Steyn is still deadly and accurate than muscular Shoaib or Malinga. But with the facilities, planning and training provided, Sri Lanka will most likely produce a disciplined, physicalyand mentally tough and well prepared fast bowlers and we will produce a Nazmul, Shafiul...

However, for Bangladeshi fast bowlers, Nazmul, Rasel had the talent perhaps but they never worked on their physical improvement and would easily break down after couple series. Hence, they never got to master their skills either by playing a longer time. Versus a veteran like Mashrafee is much fitter than even the newest sensation..He is the only fast bowler who has mixed physical fitness with his talent,, Shahadat comes next and the rest, including Rubel, Shafiul etc. still has many miles to go;

Ian Pont
August 27, 2012, 01:41 AM
Always happy to set up an MRF style pace academy in Bangladesh but no one seems to want it, or has the enthusiasm for it.

Unless the BCB want this, it will not happen. Or unless the big companies want to fund this, it will not happen.

I am getting fed up offering my services but I am passionate about making this work - somehow

jeesh
August 27, 2012, 04:38 AM
Thanks all for your feedback.

Yes Ian we badly need a pace academy. We dont need a fancy setup or infrastructure. Just a dedicated coaching team working with a proper system. Hope RP or RI can feed the idea to the board.

mufi_02
August 27, 2012, 08:50 AM
The upcoming SL pacers are not as promising. They might have produced Vaas and Malinga but the Fernando, Thisara, Prasad are not world class. Kulasekara was once the number 1 bowler but since then lost his form and don't even have a guaranteed spot in the team now.

Fast bowling lessons should be learned from SA where they produces Steyns, Morkels and more. From England where Graham Onions recently took 9 wickets in a County match and still couldn't make it to the 3rd test against SA. Their 3rd position are battled between Finn, Bresnan, and then come Onions. Or Pakistan where even after departure or world class bowlers such as Asif and Amir, they still discovered Junaid Khan and Aizaz Cheema. SL pace line up is only marginally better than India's. Nothing extraordinary about it.

jeesh
August 27, 2012, 10:26 PM
Just to let you know Kulasekara is very much Sri Lanka's first choice. He is out because of injury. The current crop are not world class yet, but they have a system in place to produce such players. When Malinga retires, there will be someone replacing him.

Obviously we can learn from SA, Aussie, England etc. But you have to understand we dont have the same infrastructure, talent development etc. And also physique plays a key role. Aussies, S Africans are physically superior to us-better athletes, better diet etc. The point of the article is to at least learn from Sri Lanka who have produced the results with the minimum resources. You cant aim to have Pakistan, SA or Australia's system just like that. Its like Bangladesh developing automobile industry in 2012-13.

al Furqaan
August 27, 2012, 10:38 PM
Honestly, SL have only produced Vaas and Malinga. And even Vaas had a reasonably poor strike rate for a guy who took as many wickets as he did. Malinga on the other hand is pretty beastly. They might have some decent pacers now, but SL are probably not the best team for us to emulate pace wise. I see no reason why we can't emulate Pakistan...I don't think their infrastructure is that much better than ours. If thats issue, than look to NZ. With a tiny population and relatively thin resources they've produced many good bowlers from Hadlee to Bond, and then plenty of solid ones like Martin, Franklin, Mills and Oram.

Zunaid
August 27, 2012, 10:43 PM
Honestly, SL have only produced Vaas and Malinga. And even Vaas had a reasonably poor strike rate for a guy who took as many wickets as he did. Malinga on the other hand is pretty beastly. They might have some decent pacers now, but SL are probably not the best team for us to emulate pace wise. I see no reason why we can't emulate Pakistan...I don't think their infrastructure is that much better than ours. If thats issue, than look to NZ. With a tiny population and relatively thin resources they've produced many good bowlers from Hadlee to Bond, and then plenty of solid ones like Martin, Franklin, Mills and Oram.

We cannot emulate Pakistan nor New Zealand in terms of physique. So, we are left two choices - India and Sri Lanka. The conclusion is self-evident.

Gowza
August 27, 2012, 10:52 PM
what's to emulate? there is talent there i.e. mash, rubel, sajidul, dolar, subashis, abul, babu, taskin, abu jayed, al amin, emon ahmed, shafiul. outside of talent the most important thing is to have decent coaches and places where these coaches can coach the players. things like diet and fitness should be part of the academys/fast bowling schools. at the same time keep the pacer hunts going.

other than that the next thing for them to do is play matches.

and when it comes to fitness and strength training it would help a lot if players had easy access to gyms, FC, DPL and BPL teams should all have gyms or be associated with gyms so players contracted get access to them.

Zunaid
August 27, 2012, 10:56 PM
what's to emulate? there is talent there i.e. mash, rubel, sajidul, dolar, subashis, abul, babu, taskin, abu jayed, al amin, emon ahmed, shafiul. outside of talent the most important thing is to have decent coaches and places where these coaches can coach the players. things like diet and fitness should be part of the academys/fast bowling schools. at the same time keep the pacer hunts going.

other than that the next thing for them to do is play matches.

In business there is a term - ABC. Always Be Closing. Your sales pipeline might be fat but if you don't close, you ain't got nothing. Sri Lanka's not so fat pipeline has a very high closure rate. We have jack diddly in comparison.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wVQPY4LlbJ4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

jeesh
August 27, 2012, 11:29 PM
@ al Furqaan. You are not giving Vaas enough credit. I wish we had someone with half of Vaas's ability and mindset. Oh btw before Vaas, and Malinga there were guys like Ratnayake, Ramanayake who were considered pretty good. Mind you these guys didnt get to play a lot of test matches or ODI's those days. The new generation has a few promising pacers too. Point is they always have the knack of developing quality bowlers and cricketers-much better than what we could hope for. Imo they are a perfect model for us to emulate-batting, bowling and fielding, youth development etc. They probably have less financial resources than us, similar or less infrastructure, smaller talent pool. They just use their heads better. And with that they have won a world cup and was a finalist twice in recent years. Not a bad country to emulate. NZ might have a fewer people, but could it be that they have better infrastructure, system, coaching than us. Otherwise how could such a tiny nation 13 medals in Olympics (Ahead of many European and South American giants). How could their national football team (Ranked 156 in 2007, BD-169), get into the WC in 2010? I say lets not compare our sports with theirs.

@ gowza. I dont think going to the gym and eating well during academy years is sufficient. Its a part of growing up. Kiwi's, Aussies, S African youngsters are better athletes-they pursue multiple sports, eat better. Even Pakistan-i once read Mohammad Zahid (Once fastest bowler) used to drink a 1 litre of milk and 4 kg of mutton daily. They are physically stronger than us-which is why they excel in a lot of physical sport like wrestling, boxing etc.

HereWeGo
August 27, 2012, 11:37 PM
Well written article, however I cannot fully agree with the writer.. I do not think Srilanka to be a model for fast bowlers.
Sri-Lanka is however an amazing model to look at when it comes to producing really unorthodox bowlers ( malinga, mendis, murali and Akila Dhananjaya). I guess the reason being that the coaches never try to correct someone's natural action (malinga) or ability (carrom ball)....

Fast bowling was never the major trait for Srilankans..... Pakistan is a different story tho...

Gowza
August 27, 2012, 11:46 PM
@ al Furqaan. You are not giving Vaas enough credit. I wish we had someone with half of Vaas's ability and mindset. Oh btw before Vaas, and Malinga there were guys like Ratnayake, Ramanayake who were considered pretty good. Mind you these guys didnt get to play a lot of test matches or ODI's those days. The new generation has a few promising pacers too. Point is they always have the knack of developing quality bowlers and cricketers-much better than what we could hope for. Imo they are a perfect model for us to emulate-batting, bowling and fielding, youth development etc. They probably have less financial resources than us, similar or less infrastructure, smaller talent pool. They just use their heads better. And with that they have won a world cup and was a finalist twice in recent years. Not a bad country to emulate. NZ might have a fewer people, but could it be that they have better infrastructure, system, coaching than us. Otherwise how could such a tiny nation 13 medals in Olympics (Ahead of many European and South American giants). How could their national football team (Ranked 156 in 2007, BD-169), get into the WC in 2010? I say lets not compare our sports with theirs.

@ gowza. I dont think going to the gym and eating well during academy years is sufficient. Its a part of growing up. Kiwi's, Aussies, S African youngsters are better athletes-they pursue multiple sports, eat better. Even Pakistan-i once read Mohammad Zahid (Once fastest bowler) used to drink a 1 litre of milk and 4 kg of mutton daily. They are physically stronger than us-which is why they excel in a lot of physical sport like wrestling, boxing etc.

Of course doing it while growing up is ideal but what I'm saying is in terms of a structure format there should be fast bowling schools and they should include fitness and diet rather than not. Age group teams should certainly instill it also. As far as different sports, I think while they are young it's great to encourage as different sports develop different physical and mental skills.

jeesh
August 27, 2012, 11:48 PM
Thanks for the feedback HereWeGo. Like the point you make about coaches not trying to change players styles, actions too much. This has been a trademark of Sri Lanka- Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana, Dilshan, Murali, Mendis, Malinga and now the new sensatation Akila Dananjaya (Who has never played a professional game in his life). They dont always play by the book, and this is what helps them to make a difference. People in SL are very easy going in their approach, a coach will encourage a youngster even if he is unorthodox given it works. Big difference in mindset in BD where coaches will probably rule with discipline and ask players to go strictly by the book.

cricket_king
August 28, 2012, 01:28 AM
Honestly, SL have only produced Vaas and Malinga. And even Vaas had a reasonably poor strike rate for a guy who took as many wickets as he did. Malinga on the other hand is pretty beastly. They might have some decent pacers now, but SL are probably not the best team for us to emulate pace wise. I see no reason why we can't emulate Pakistan...I don't think their infrastructure is that much better than ours. If thats issue, than look to NZ. With a tiny population and relatively thin resources they've produced many good bowlers from Hadlee to Bond, and then plenty of solid ones like Martin, Franklin, Mills and Oram.

Fast bowlers from NZ and Pakistan are generally much taller than our bowlers. They're also much stronger, but that part of the problem can be fixed by building strength. As someone has mentioned already, the closest we can get to Sri Lanka and India, and that's a fairly straightforward decision.

mufi_02
August 28, 2012, 08:37 AM
Its not only physique that determines Fast bowling. Just because we are not physically similar to Eng-SA-Pak, it doesn't mean we have to follow Ind-SL and emulate them. Players like Pollock, Steyn, Aaqib Javed, Waqar Younis, Zaheer Khan, Asif/Amir, Anderson, Gough are not tremendously built but they are all world class bowlers in their own right.

jeesh
August 28, 2012, 10:18 PM
Lol, you seriously think Pollock, Steyn, Waqar, Zaheer, Anderson, Gough are not well built? Even skinny Ishant Sharma is strong enough to take on three of our guys :P

Naimul_Hd
August 28, 2012, 10:27 PM
^^ How about the pigeon, McGrath ? Surely he isn't well built and the skinniest of all. That's why he got that nick. :)

Zunaid
August 28, 2012, 10:36 PM
^^ How about the pigeon, McGrath ? Surely he isn't well built and the skinniest of all. That's why he got that nick. :)

196 cm and 90 kg. He may not have been beefy but he definitely wasn't skinny. 196 cm and 90 kg - that's NOT a small man. It's his thin legs in comparison to his barrel chest that gave him his nickname.

Naimul_Hd
August 28, 2012, 10:40 PM
196 cm and 90 kg. He may not have been beefy but he definitely wasn't skinny. 196 cm and 90 kg - that's NOT a small man. It's his thin legs in comparison to his barrel chest that gave him his nickname.

90 kg ? is it his current weight ? I doubt he was 90 kg when he started his career !!

For a 6' 5" guy, 90 kg may be normal.

jeesh
August 29, 2012, 02:19 AM
McGrath used to bowl at 140 plus when he started, over the years his pace declined. But still he could comfortably bowl over 135. His height, delivery point, accuracy were his key strengths. Very hard to replicate. India has tried with several guys-identical action. But so far none of them had any success.

Anyway you dont need pace and brute strength to be a successful bowler. Chaminda Vaas, Kulasekara, Praveen Kumar, Aaqib Javed, Streak are all good examples. Height and pace are obviously an advantage. But a bowler can do without if they have accuracy, skill and intelligence. These are things that need to be taught to our guys and will come with experience and practice. McGrath used to put a coin on the pitch and practice day and night.

Most of our pacers are poor in all these areas. Most dont have height or pace. Only Mashrafee and Nazmul are somewhat accurate. Most have limited skills (How many can genuinely swing or seam the ball in and out consistently?), and hardly any of them use intelligence. Rasel for instance can make up for the lack of pace with accurate wicket to wicket bowling and a bit of swing. But he sprays the ball over the place and gets whacked around. Lot of work for our bowling coaches to do. And these things need long term training, not just 3 weeks before a tour.

shuziburo
August 29, 2012, 11:50 AM
Practice is one thing that all greats are great at. Somehow most of our players don't think so.

Bradman was known for his pursuit of perfection. Harold Larwood also used to practice with a coin on the pitch. Tendulkar is one of the current examples.

shuziburo
August 29, 2012, 08:48 PM
Always happy to set up an MRF style pace academy in Bangladesh but no one seems to want it, or has the enthusiasm for it.

Unless the BCB want this, it will not happen. Or unless the big companies want to fund this, it will not happen.

I am getting fed up offering my services but I am passionate about making this work - somehow

Ian, if this happens, it is unlikely to be due to BCB. Please don't get disheartened. It will happen, but might take time.

jeesh
August 29, 2012, 11:53 PM
When is BCB election? Good time to feed the idea to Mr. Kamal. Anyone have his number? :P

Zeeshan
September 5, 2012, 11:28 PM
Late to comment. Impressive knowledge Jeesh. Do you, however, have any more thoughts on the quoted section? Can you expand on it? I fully agree that we should use unorthodox scouting to find those rare fit players from rural areas, who could be fine tuned into fast bowlers.

The lesson is we may not be able to find a Malinga in the nets of Abahani practicing with a leather ball. We need to widen our search parameters. We need to look at villages, rural school cricket and often resort to the unlikeliest places to find a future fast bowler. Sounds easy in theory, but how can we implement this? This is where the decentralization of cricket will help. Individual’s delegated responsibility of promoting cricket in the different regions must scout for such prospects and bring them into the system. This has been one Sri Lanka’s key success factors-the ability to discover and bring in young talent from around the country.

jeesh
September 6, 2012, 01:05 AM
Thank you for the kind feedback Zeeshan.

Our selectors have a very traditional or conventional approach. Have school cricket, develop under 19 team, have first class cricket, give a team opportunity to prospects then promote to NT if they perform. These days they also dont take too many risks. Now this is good, this way we allow a player to develop instead of rushing him. But sometimes this approach might prevent us from finding rough uncut diamonds.

Because cricket is so Dhaka centric not every boy around the country has the ability to obtain proper coaching or even purchase a full kit. So while our eyes are on Dhaka, there might be a tearaway from Rangpur who only plays village cricket. How Sri Lanka benefits is their highly publicized island wide school tournaments-its easier to identify performers or talent. Also their coaches and selectors are not afraid to take risks. If they spot talent, they will not hesitate fastracking to academy or A team or sometimes even NT. They dont care whether the boy has had good training, or whether he has first class experience. They believe in raw talent. Malinga is a product of this school of thought. Akila Dananjaya is the most recent success story. The guy never played a professional match in his life, he was just picked by Wayamba because of his impressive showing in the nets as a net practice bowler. Now he ll be in the SL T20 team.

Now we too have a success story in the same line. Mashrafe wasnt unearthed the traditional way. He was spotted in a regional tournament. Had a few days with Andy Roberts which totally changed his life. Was fastracked to A team where he played 4 matches in India. Was called up to the NT immediately after that where he made a huge impact. Is Mashrafe a once in a generation bowler or a very special talent? I bet there are more guys there, we just have to go out and find.

World Champs
September 14, 2012, 07:57 AM
I don't know much about fast bowling but IMO Its not all about being 6''4 and having a good built to bowl fast. India has number of players in domestic cricket who are tall and well built but they are trundlers. We had a guy like Abhey Kuruvilla but he used to bowl in 125-130 range, whereas a skinny and short ajit agarkar used to bowl quicket than him. Take Eg of Mohd Aamir he wasn't a big guy either but used to bowl 140-145.

jeesh
September 14, 2012, 10:31 AM
Correct. Ajit Agarkar had a quick arm and wrist action which enabled him to bowl over 140 early on in his career. Height adds bounce and carry, but is not necessarily proportional to pace. Upper body strength, shoulder muscle, arm action are more important.

Gowza
September 14, 2012, 07:42 PM
long limbs can help with pace, they can gather more momentum but obviously having strong legs and a strong upper body is important to.

jeesh
September 14, 2012, 10:40 PM
There's so much of science to it. Once i recall Ian Chappel say McGrath's pace is a fraction less because when he is bowling the ball travels a greater distance because of his height and high arm action-as opposed to a shorter bowler. Dont ask me to explain the logic, even i wasnt sure what he meant. But point is there are so many theories.

Gowza
September 14, 2012, 11:23 PM
There's so much of science to it. Once i recall Ian Chappel say McGrath's pace is a fraction less because when he is bowling the ball travels a greater distance because of his height and high arm action-as opposed to a shorter bowler. Dont ask me to explain the logic, even i wasnt sure what he meant. But point is there are so many theories.

less pace at the batsman's end maybe, though speeds are measured from the hand so what comes up on the speed gun shouldn't be affected by his height and high arm action. think about it logically, if 2 bowlers were to release the ball at the same point in the bowlers crease, the bowler who releases the ball at a higher point will be bowling it further by the time it gets to the batsman.