Indian cricket has seen several false dawns as far as promising fast bowling is concerned . There have been many who have stormed in to the scene over the last decade before fading away due to form and fitness issues all too soon.
Munaf Patel, RP Singh and Ashish Nehra have been hailed as big finds at various times but are now either plying their trade in domestic cricket or sitting out due to injuries.
The just-concluded Twenty20 and one-day series against Pakistan have brought a few new pacers in the spotlight. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashoke Dinda and Shami Ahmed have shown their talent, which if harnessed and groomed properly, can give India the cutting edge as far as the bowling attack is concerned.
Bhuvneshwar and Shami have shown that they have accuracy and movement and were responsible, to a large extent, for India successfully defending a small total in the third one-dayer at the Kotla.
Dinda has pace but his affinity to bowl short has resulted in him being expensive in the matches he has played so far. But nobody can doubt his heart, which has impressed former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Though Parvinder Awana did not get success in the few matches he has played, it would be not be wise to mark him out of contention so soon.
All these pacemen have got the opportunity to don Indian colours after going through the domestic grind and if they learn from the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, they can go on to have long and successful international careers.
These youngsters would do well to avoid the path taken by Nehra, Munaf and RP Singh who had the fans excited with their pace, movement and accuracy only to disappear from the big stage.
Nehra and Munaf were part of the squad that won the ICC World Cup in 2011, but have not done much since. The latter had good pace when he made his international debut in 2006, but now turned into a trundler in the Indian Premier League.
Injuries have taken their inevitable toll on Nehra while the lasting image of RP Singh would be the first ball of the 2011 Oval Test which reached the wicketkeeper on the double bounce way down the legside.
R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun have had a taste of Test cricket, but couldn’t make much ofan impact.
It is not that India has failed to produce good fast bowlers in recent times. Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron have shown that they can beat any batsman for pace on any given day.
Umesh was impressive in the first Test against England and Ahmedabad, and his injury was one of the less-talked about reasons for India’s eventual series defeat.
Aaron showed the touring West Indians what he is capable of, but a back injury ruled him out for the Australian tour which followed.
Sreesanth’S problems have been as much as in his head as the body and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been reluctant to have him in the eleven. The Kerala pacer, who impressed Allan Donald with his seam position, has been impressive during his comeback from a toe injury.
In Umesh, Aaron and Shami, India does possess three genuine fast bowlers while the likes of Bhuneshwar, Praveen and Sreesanth can trouble the batsmen with their accuracy and movement off the pitch.
All three – Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Dinda – have a lot to offer Indian cricket. Zaheer is not likely to carry on for too long and the burden will soon fall on the younger shoulders. With India not producing too many quality spinners, better be ready to share the load.