Quick bucks made through popular Twenty20 leagues are spoiling fast bowlers across the world as they stop working hard after initial success, laments Australian pace legend Glenn McGrath.
“Biggest issue which I find, probably not just in India, probably around the world is how hard they are prepared to work.
“And if they do get little bit of success playing in IPL or big bash in Australia is that they get to that level and they think they have made it and they stop working hard and they stop training as much,” McGrath said after attending a coaching clinic for Under-23 pacers at the PCA stadium in Mohali.
“Young bowlers have to be prepared to work hard and then work even harder to stay there, there are no easy options or short cuts. Sometimes, I see young cricketers reach a certain standard, all of a sudden they get paid good money and they stop work.
“I think money should always be secondary. It’s great that cricketers are earning good money. But if money is secondary and it’s all about going out there, performing at their best and keeping themselves in best condition.
“Then that money will be there all the time. And I think that’s the attitude young cricketers should have. Ultimate goal should always be representing your country.”
With the cricket boards opening to the idea of day night Test with the Pink ball and experimenting with the idea, McGrath said the “pink ball adds a new dimension to the game.”
India are hosting the Duleep Trophy matches with pink ball this season even as Australia and New Zealand have already played a Test match with pink ball under flood lights.
“Pink ball adds a new dimension to the game, I don’t mind it. With T20 really taking the world by storm, Test cricket to me is really important. We got to hold it in high regard,” McGrath said.
McGrath said the bowlers, specially the pacemen, will have a clear advantage in the contest.
“Obviously the pink ball does a little bit more, you got a little bit grass on the wicket. It loses colour very quickly and the ball doesn’t hold up like the older, specially the Test ball.
“It’s a little bit more in bowler’s favour, it’s going to swing around, it’s going to nip around a little bit more. I think bowlers will enjoy bowling with the pink ball, but at the end of the day they still they have to get the ball in the right area,” he said.
McGrath said the ability to adapt to different playing conditions and consistent hard work is key to a fast bowler’s success.
“To be a good fast bowler, you have to bowl well in your own conditions, to be a great fast bowler, you have to be able to adjust and adapt to all different conditions throughout the world, quick wickets, bouncy wickets, slow, dry wickets,” the 46-year-old said as he gave tips to 25 fast bowlers along with M Senthilnathan, Chief Coach of the MRF Pace Foundation.
“We are here to see the young crop of fast bowlers. They can pick up one or two things how they can become better bowlers. We (at MRF Pace Foundation) never change actions, we always fine-tune them.”
“To be a fast bowler is the toughest part of the game. You’ve got to be prepared to work harder than anyone else, you got to be prepared to go through more pain than anyone else.”
Asked about how budding bowlers can generate more pace, he said, “I think pace is something which is natural. We can extract a little bit more pace by getting more out of the action. But we can’t teach someone to bowl express pace.”
McGrath also took questions on how shorter version of the game was throwing up different challenge for the fast bowlers.
“When I played I set a goal of (giving away) 4 runs or less in ODI and 6 runs or less in a T20 game. Now if you say if I keep it to 5 runs in ODI and 7-8 runs in T20, I have done my job,” he said.
“The biggest issue I have with being a fast bowler in this day and age is one there is no real off season. For a bowler because it’s so tough, throughout the season your strength and fitness deplete, you need to back up, if there is no real off season its hard to do that.”
The Aussie stressed on the need for bowlers to adapt to different conditions.
“When spinners first came in T20s they thought they are going to be hit out of the park and now they are opening the attack and doing well. Bowlers need to adapt. One thing a fast bowler can control is where he bowls at more. Control combined with pace can be a dangerous combination.”
Touching upon the budding Indian pacers, McGrath said there is plenty of talent coming through.
“Couple of guys that stand out, Veer Pratap Singh is probably the best I have seen, he is bowling exceptionally well, he has got good pace, he swings the ball. He had little taste of IPL cricket.
“Anikeet Chaudhary, Ankit Rajput, Nathu Singh, they are good young upcoming bowlers.”