Ranji Trophy stalwart Pankaj Singh reckons that the most important thing when it comes to bowling fast is the self belief each bowler possesses. The 34-year-old also added a few tips to bowl long spells in a day and also showered praise on R Vinay Kumar, who went past his wickets tally last year.
Since his first bout way back in 2004, Pankaj has gone to become a literal and metaphorical giant in the Indian domestic cricket circuit. However, the Rajasthan man has watched on from the sidelines this Ranji season as he recovers from a bout of dengue fever. In the meantime, he was at his cricket academy at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium premises and weighed in on India’s cultural shift that has aided the manufacturing of fast-bowling riches.
“The most important thing is your belief that you can bowl fast. Since I started playing, opportunities have been given to those players who bowled fast, be it Varun Aaron or Umesh Yadav or Ishant Sharma. Whoever is bowling quick, they’re getting the opportunity. If we talk about training and scientific things, those things have totally changed,” Pankaj told Sportstar.
“The training patterns changed, and speed gained in value. The conditions of the pitches in India also improved. For some time, green-top pitches were also used as per policy in which a minimum level of grass had to be maintained. The IPL also came about in 2008 and so if you had to play the IPL, you needed to be competitive,” he added.
The senior pro also added his tips on training in such a manner that enables a bowler to sustain the intensity through a long spell in four or five-day cricket.
“For that, the best thing is you would have to bowl in the nets – that amount of bowling – so your body is used to that weight. If you don’t bowl in the nets, regardless of how much you train otherwise, it’s not going to help you in the match. Training will give you pace, but practice will give you strength to bowl there,” Pankaj said.
“A hundred overs isn’t too much; if you bowl for 10 days – within those 10 days even if you take offs and bowl for seven days, if you bowl 15 overs a day, you have bowled 105 overs. You need to plan; if you’ve bowled 100 overs, bowling 20 overs in the match isn’t going to tax you much,” he said.
“Vinay Kumar is a hard-working cricketer. He is smart as well. He played the shorter formats as well, and performed [well] too. He is very good in domestic cricket with the red ball as well. Later in his career, he was handy with the bat as well. In the last 2-4 years, he has added batting skills to his already existent bowling skills. He has been hardworking and smart and knows how to deal with situations. Whenever he has the red ball, he has that hunger,” Pankaj added.