Highlighting the importance of old-fashioned swing bowling even in today’s slam-bang T20 era, legendary Indian cricketer Kapil Dev on Friday said swing can outdo pace as whenever the ball moves even the best of batsmen have difficulties in dealing with it while in conversation with senior sports writer and journalist Ayaz Memon on day 2 of the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
I’m not happy with fast bowlers (these days). The first ball cannot be cross seam. Players in IPL realised that swing is more important than pace. Sandeep (Sharma), who bowled 120 kph was tougher because he was moving the ball. Bowlers have to understand it’s not the pace, it’s the swing. They should learn but are running away from art. Natarajan was my hero of IPL. Young boy was fearless and bowling so many yorkers,” – Kapil Dev said while speaking over video at the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Kapil gave the examples of Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath, Richard Hadlee too stress on the importance of swing bowling while adding that if young bowlers don’t how to swing the ball then all the knuckle balls and slowers ones become a waste.
“Keep your wrist straight, hold the ball seam-up. Whenever the ball moves Tests matches become important. Wasim, Botham, Willis, Hadlee. McGrath, look how good he was. The art of swing bowling should come back. Learning the knuckle ball and all is fine. If you don’t know how to swing the ball, everything is waste,” Kapil added.
When asked about the current crop of Indian fast bowlers led by the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma, Kapil said no team would like to offer bouncy wickets to India as their fast bowlers can inflict a lot of damage using the same track.
“I read somewhere that Lara said he rather prefer face Kapil Dev but not Lara. Our fast bowlers are brilliant. Look at Shami, Bumrah. As a cricketer, it gives me a lot of happiness to say that today we depend on our fast bowlers. Our bowlers are capable of taking 20 wickets in a match. We’ve had spinners – Kumble, Harbhajan, but today no country would like to say ‘give them bouncy wickets’,” said the former India captain.
Kapil Dev was India’s first genuine fast bowler and all-rounder, who made a name for himself with his swing bowling and fearless batting down the order. He led the team from the front in the 1983 World Cup as India shocked favourites West Indies to become world champions.
Kapil Dev’s marvellous catch to dismiss Vivian Richards in the final put India on the road to a momentous victory against Clive Lloyd’s all-conquering team from the Caribbean. The 1983 World Cup win revolutionised cricket in the country as millions of youngsters took to the sport, which eventually led to India’s rise as one of the global powerhouses of the game.
Kapil ended his career as the (then) highest wicket-taker in Test cricket as he broke Richard Hadlee’s record in the twilight of his career. Post his retirement he had a brief stint as the coach of the Indian team, before becoming one of the leading voices in cricket commentary.