Fast bowling in world cricket wasn’t looking particularly hopeful once the likes of Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and Dale Steyn faded. But of late, the art has started impressing again and the credit goes to the new breed of pacers that have come up internationally in the forms of Jasprit Bumrah, Kagiso Rabada, Jofra Archer, Mitchell Starc, Mohammed Shami, and others. Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop has also sounded optimistic over this revival.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo recently, Bishop, who is India at the moment for the upcoming twin series between the hosts and the West Indies, was particularly impressed with India’s rise as a top pace-bowling attack. He was pleasantly surprised by the improvements some of India’s top seamers like Bumrah, Shami and Sharma have shown over the past few years.
However, when asked to name a fast bowler he is most kin to watch in action, Bishop did not take any of the Indian bowlers’ names but that of Archer — the tearaway West Indian-born pacer who has made it a habit of hitting batsmen with nasty deliveries.
Ian Bishop lauds Jofra Archer
“There are so many. Jofra Archer. I almost feel when he’s on song that it’s the perfect streamlined technique. Naseem Shah. Jasprit Bumrah. Mohammed Shami – oh god, I love Shami! That whole core group of what India bring, where I don’t want to pick anyone and say, “This one more than the other”,” the 52-year-old who had played with some of the legendary Caribbean pacers, said.
“Kagiso Rabada. Kemar Roach – I love watching Kemar. He has developed into a fantastic bowler. He’s not fast, he has lost pace, but with Jason Holder, that’s two excellent fast-medium bowlers. Lockie Ferguson… there are too many! I want to say Neil Wagner, but I don’t know how Wagner does what he does! All of those guys provide a cutting edge that excites me,” he said.
The top 11 fast bowlers that Bishop picked, in his order of preference, are Archer, Bumrah, Naseem Shah, Shami, Rabada, Roach, Holder, Ferguson, Wagner, Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
When asked about the best fast bowler he has ever played with, Bishop took the name of the late Malcolm Marshall, one of the top architects of the West Indies’ legendary pace battery of the 1980s and early 1990s.
“Malcolm Marshall. He was the greatest, smartest, cleverest fast bowler that I played with. He was a great, great teacher, and I’m not saying this lightly. When I had just arrived in the West Indies team in 1988, ’89, ’90, Malcolm would put me at mid-on in state games, in England, in Australia, and tell me what he was going to bowl. He would tell me why he was changing the field, what angles he was hoping to create. And just his sprint to the crease, his quick arm. And the brain? Perfect for me,” Bishop added.
The West Indies will play India in the first of the three T20Is in Hyderabad on December 6.
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