Sunday, January 13, 2008

Marlon Samuels' quicker one.. under the scanner once again. I am unable to speak on the legality of his action in delivering that 'Perth special' but I was amazed a year and a half ago that he could deliver it at that kind of speed. 82 miles an hour, to be precise.

He was bowling those darts off five steps when India toured West Indies in 2006! I have a sneaking feeling that the trauma of watching Marlon effortlessly go past them on the speen guns was too much for our nascent medium pacers to handle. Irfan Pathan lost his pace soon after, Munaf Patel his fitness while Zaheer had already lost his form and place in the Test side at that point of time. I am reproducing what I thought at the time about the delivery that shattered their psyche:

"AND.....this creep n' slime delivery got unleashed while their fast bowler Ian Bradshaw was consistently clocking late sixties from the other end, with a flummoxed Carlton Baugh standing up at the stumps. I almost screamed in protest (muted it with great difficulty, as it was midnight in India) when the otherwise lovable bore Tony Cozier tried to vilify the poor keeper for missing a stumping chance. Guess he wanted to call the little gloveman a dumb ass for not realising, after all those years of keeping to 'fast' and 'slow' bowlers, that a stumping was easier attempted off quickie Bradshaw?!

West Indies cricket losing potential quick bowlers to basketball? Huh! Ever thought of blaming off-spin?"

Why just blame the Indian bowlers for succumbing to the Samuels shock? If you think hard about the match where he clocked such speeds and the state of Indian cricket in its aftermath, it is easy to rule that the 1 run defeat in that 2nd ODI against West Indies toppled the fortunes of Rahul Dravid's invincible ODI juggernaut and turned them into a shellshocked lot over the time span of a 50 over match, a setback that they are still recoving from.

You say the 82 mph stuff is taken a few miles too far? Well here's more damning evidence. It took R P Singh's vigorous 140 kph stuff at England in the summer of 2007 to assure the poor Indian pacers and their supporters in India that the the giant leaps of our quicks could yield slightly better results than the 5 steps of Marlon. You will agree that the Indian new ball bowlers, post RP's quick overs in England, have looked a more confident lot and done far better than they did in 2006 in all forms of the game. Zaheer got back his hunger and Pathan his place while Ishant Sharma is making people sit up and take notice.

It is hardly surprising to me. These days all four (those three along with RP) are easily capable of crossing the 82 mph barrier..

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