- Fast bowling is expensive of energy and injurious to health.
Anyone can figure out that the person expending the most energy on the cricket field is the fast bowler — not the batsman, not the fielder, nor the spinner.
- Your average batsman, all he has to do, is swing his arms, and then trot to the other side of the pitch (unless he’s Dhoni or Kohli in the middle overs).
- Your average fielder, for 90% of his time on the field, just has to stand stock still.
- Your average spin bowler concentrates his energy on the release of the ball from the hand, with not much of a run-up.
- Your average fast bowler takes all the shit.
- He has to build momentum by running for 30–40 metres.
- At the end of his run, he usually makes a short skip, before releasing the ball in an absurd straight-armed fashion, which has his serratus, subscapularis, and latissimus dorsis muscles in danger, if he overstrains.
- Once he lands, his feet fall fast onto the hard cricket pitch, jarring his ankles.
- This physical difficulty is why the three most prolific bowlers of all time were spinners, and not fast bowlers — Muralitharan, Warne, and Kumble.
Spinners’ shelf-lives are longer, since they aren’t putting themselves into as many “Injurious to health” situations as their fast-bowling counterparts.
Even the 4th most prolific bowler of all time (McGrath) was more of a medium-paced bowler than a fast-paced bowler. He conserved his energy, and concentrated on accuracy, rather than speed.
That’s why most players prefer being anyone but a fast bowler.
That being said, it’s still a majestic sight watching Shoaib and Steyn in their run-ups — one that must be terrifying for the batsman.
- Batting is more fun, easier to do, and over-rewarded.
Why do 90% of the people you meet on the childhood playground want to bat instead of bowl — even if you’re playing box or gully cricket which requires an easier underarm bowling action?
Why doesn’t anyone want to bowl?
- Batting is gratuitous violence. Batting is externalizing all your inner turmoil. Batting is easy — just swing and hit. Batting is breaking windowpanes you’re not supposed to break, of neighbors you hate. Batting is love. Batting is life.
- In the elite version of the sport, theory favors the batsman over the bowler, because most of the (superficial) numbers go to his name, not the bowler’s. Runs are “more” than wickets. So, the batsman gets most of the awards. Naturally, most enthusiasts want to become batsman and not bowlers.
- Overarm bowling is absurd, long-winded, and under-rewarded.
Most sports have good working rules behind them.
- Tennis, basketball and football are straightforward — players’ athletic movements aren’t restrained by rules (much). You can hit the ball in tennis anyway you want. You can bounce the basketball anyway you want, barring illegal dribbles. You can use your legs on the football pitch anyway you want, short of kicking the opponent in the nads.
- In cricket, the batsmen and fielders are free to do whatever they want with their arms or legs.
They aren’t allowed to be unpredictable (much). Even Lasith Malinga has to bowl in the same fashion every single time, no matter how complicated his process looks.
Run hard for 40 metres, then release in X fashion. Repeat.
All the batsman has to do, is swing his arms and deposit the ball into the baying crowds. Or block it emphatically like Dravid, as if to say “I’m not getting runs, but you’re not getting my wicket. And I know you’re gonna tire, before me, bitch.”
This puts bowlers off bowling.
- Indian cricket pitches are not fast-bowler-friendly.
Probably based on point 1, and shoddy athleticism, most Indian schools-of-thought advocate the curation of pitches that favor spinners more than fast bowlers.
Since the Indian microcosm is already rigged for spinners, fast-bowlers don’t find much encouragement.
- We’ve had a great batting line-up for years and years, so bowling is given less importance than it should be.
Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Kohli, Dhoni, and Yuvraj — we’ve had the greatest batsmen to ever play the sport.
Apart from Kumble, I can’t think of any All-Time-Great bowlers we’ve had in the last 20 years.
Don’t get me wrong — We’ve had good bowlers (Zaheer, Bhajji, Srinath, Venkatesh, Nehra, etc).
But we’ve not had greats.