Former captain Sourav Ganguly has credited the surge in fitness levels and change in culture behind the rise of India as a fast bowling power. Ganguly, one of India’s most successful skippers of all time, believes the fitness factor, coupled by contributions from trainers and coaches, have worked together to change the overall perception with which fast bowling was viewed in Indian cricket.
“The coaches, fitness trainers and also I think the change in culture. Fitness routines, fitness standards not only the fast bowlers but also among batters that has changed enormously that has made everyone believe that if we are fit, we are strong, we can also bowl fast,” Ganguly told India opener Mayank Agarwal in a chat.
In the era which Ganguly played, India’s most prominent fast bowlers included Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan to name a few, and although each quick successfully contributed to the rise of Indian cricket, India struggled to find a genuine fast bowler, which at present, Virat Kohli’s India enjoy in Jasprit Bumrah.
Together, the fast bowling combination of Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav is one of the best in the world, one that helped India beat Australia on their soil for the first time in 71 years and led India to the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup. And Ganguly cannot be more pleased.
“West Indies in my generation were natural, they were naturally strong but we Indians were never such strong naturally but we have worked hard to get stronger, so I think it’s the change of culture too,” Ganguly, the BCCI president said.