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Thursday, December 24, 2009


There is no better sight in cricket than a fast bowler steaming in before destroying a batsman's stumps or knocking him over with a bouncer.

The best of the pacers run in hard from a long run up and hurl the ball at high speed to induce it bounce off the pitch in a menacing manner creating fear in the minds of the batsmen.   The sight of batsmen weakened by a bouncer whizzing past close to his ear and then beaten by pace or the stumps going for a walk in the air are indeed a treat to the eyes.

(the fearsome foursome - Andy, Michael, Colin & Joel)

To name some of the best whom I have seen or heard of - Dennis Lillee, Jeoff Thompson, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Mike Holding, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Alan Donald – this by no  means is a complete list nor the best ever complied. They are passionate, ruthless when it comes to snaring and display then anger quite often.

Holding - smooth run up and angry retort

Thommo was for long considered the fastest clocking 99.7 mph. Holding was known as ‘Whispering Death’ and Rollsroyce for the nice smooth run up and clean action. However, there are reports of Mohammed Sami and Shoaib Akhtar clocking more than 161 kmph i.e., crossing the 100 mph barrier.

Dennis the menace

Lasith Malinga - the slinger

This post is all about the sad end of a promising pace bowler who threatened to over run all others but had his own career decimated by injury and somewhat in joining the rebel ICL. He is only 34 has a strike rate of 38.7 ; average of 22.09 and has taken 5 wickets in an innings 5 times and ten in a test once. Shane Bond considered as one the best black caps only played 18 tests in a career spanning 7 years – took 87 wickets at an average of 22, with best haul of 6/51.

His desire was severely tested in 2004 when he underwent a back operation – grafting of hip bone into the vertebra, secured with bolts and wires. It took three weeks before he was able to touch his toes, seven before he could walk for 10 minutes and surgeons told him that pace bowling would become a thing of the past. The future looked glum but he began to walk, went swimming, and changed his fitness training. He slogged through four sessions a day: ten overs of bowling in the morning, followed by an hour of weights. Then a half-hour of rest before a 40-minute run. He ended the day with a session of boxing training.  

With mental toughness, he came back strongly and in a test in Auckland, had Lara out cutting to point and in the second his first ball had Lara’s leg up rooted of the hole. His stint with ICL playing for Delhi Giants kept him out of national duty – this Nov however he earned a recall snared eight Paki wickets at Dunedin but also picked up an abdominal injury, which steered him to decide to call it a day.

When he burst into the arena in 2001 against Aussies he was amongst the quickest pacers – was the quickest Kiwi to reach 50 ODI wickets including 6/22 in the WC 2003 against Aussie. Went on to become the fastest Kiwi to get 50 in tests – sore back surfaced in 2006 and frequent injuries kept disrupting his smooth career. The Kiwi Board reacted wildly in 2008 and terminated his national contract when he signed ICL.

When India toured Kiwiland just prior to WC 2003, in conditions favourable to seam bowling, Bond sliced through the famed Indian line up getting Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar making a memorable win at Wellington test. Statistics would never reveal his true stature. In the 18 he played, Kiwi won ten (though 4 were against Bangla and Zimbabwe). During his career span, they played 49 without him and managed win another 10. Kiwis strike rate was 20 balls better when Bond spearheaded their line up. He won MOM four times and got one in his farewell match also.

He has 138 wickets in 77 One dayers and 17 in 13 T 20s – which he hopes to continue. But the cricketing world would be missing him – more so his own country which would suffer without such quality pacer spearheading their attack albeit not so regularly.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.


  1. Sampath,

    It was during mid 90's when I was was school going kid, and I read in a magazine, "A sigh of relief for the batsman-Malcolm Marshal beckons farewell to Cricket". I never saw him bowl, but still read his record.
    A fast bowler in cricket is much like a fighter pilot in navy.

    I do like your article on Shane Bond, and I do like him for two reason-Genuine fast bowling and a handsome personality.


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