Javagal Srinath : It was always challenging to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid

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Javagal Srinath : It was always challenging to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid

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SportsCafe Desk


Javagal Srinath has revealed that bowling to Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid was a challenge and a real test of form as they brought the best out of bowlers. Moreover, the pacer talked about his dissatisfaction with his career and advised young players to play in longer versions of the game.

The 48-year-old "Mysore Express" was India's first-ever legitimate fast bowler and wrecked havoc in many a batting line-up with his raw pace and swing. He played 67 Tests and 229 ODIs between 1991 and 2003. The former India paceman in his whole career experienced playing against a lot of players, internationally as well as in the team itself. For him, playing against Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in the nets was most challenging.  

“It was always challenging to bowl to Sachin and Rahul in nets. They got the best out of most of the bowlers. If you want to really measure yourself in terms of form, they were the best batsmen to bowl at,” said Srinath in an exclusive interview with International Business Times.

“If you are not in the pink of your form, then you might find it difficult. Otherwise, I always felt Aravinda de Silva (Sri Lanka) was the best. AlsoBrian Lara (West Indies) and Ricky Ponting (Australia) were great batsmen, who I bowled at,” he added.

Srinath got the chance to play under three legendary captains - Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sourav Ganguly and revealed that playing under Tendulkar and Ganguly was the best.

“Every captain brings the best out of you. Even if the captain is not interactive that brings the best out of you because you got to think for the captain as well. Of the three captains I played under, Sourav and Sachin were the best. Sachin, when he came for the second time, was much easier to talk to and deal with. Sourav being junior to me, it was much easier to have freedom,” he said.   

However, Srinath has his own regrets with regard to his career and feels that he would have been able to achieve more in his international career if he had the luxury of current technology and coaching methods. 

When being asked whether advanced coaching methods would have been more useful in his career, he said, “Exactly. That would have been much better. But if you see it, the technology is available for everyone. It is also easier for the batsmen, with technology, to understand what the bowler is doing."

The legendary bowler considered himself to be successful at some moments but overall, his career was not satisfying for him owing to various different reasons. 

“It has always been mixed feelings. There are various ways of looking at a career. I will not be happy with the way my career went. But if you ask me where I was successful or not it can be a subjective matter. I was successful on few occasions. But if am very honest with myself my success rate was not as good as I wanted.”

“Reasons could be plenty. I don't want to blame Indian wickets for that matter. A lot of bowlers have bowled well on these pitches too. A little bit of chequered presence in ODIs and inconsistent representation in Test matches could be one of the reasons. Also we were not introduced to technology. My growth as a bowler was quite slow.”

Moreover, he feels that fast bowlers do not get much recognition in India, since the beginning but this does not affect the performance as the victory of the team is foremost. 

“Traditionally that has been the case in India. That is something which we knew all along. We have to always go with the mindset that irrespective of who gets the credit, the team should win. Whether fast bowlers win you the match or spinners, it should not matter. It is immaterial. If you contribute, as a fast bowler, to the wins, it is good enough. Even if my personal performance was not upto the mark and the team has won, I would have done something right for the team to win.”

Srinath has had a considerable international career and played 67 Tests (236 wickets), 229 ODIs (315 wickets) for India between 1991 and 2003. He also played in four World Cups in 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2003. Currently, he is working as an ICC Match Referee.

“ A lot of introspection needs to be done. You cannot say there is nothing that the pitch could offer. There will be something. If there is no grass and the pitch is flat then you look for reverse swing. You have to be extremely creative and innovative about how you go about bowling. Moving the ball will the key for any bowler.”

“For any youngster, to understand the nuances of fast bowling you have to play the longer version of the game as much as possible. The more they bowl the better they become,” he concluded.

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