CARDIFF – There was great concern not so long ago that fast bowling belonged to a bygone era.
All the rule-makers seemed to be former batsmen. Limitations were introduced on bouncers per over, two new balls per match reduced reverse swing, there were increased fielding restrictions, and, of course, bigger bats with thicker edges.
Legendary West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose concurs there was a genuine fear that young men would no longer see the value of putting their bodies through the rigours that goes with letting the ball go at 140km/* and above. However, the emergence of some talented young tearaways at the 2019 World Cup gives Ambrose hope that fast bowling may be enjoying some sort of a renaissance.
“I don’t think there is a better sight in cricket than a great fast bowler versus a great batsman. It is the best sight you can ever see in cricket. And the last few years, because of the different rules and all that stuff, it has sort of dampened the fast bowlers for a bit. All this one bouncer rules for me it just takes away the real action that spectators love to see.
There is no better sight than when a great fast bowler digs one in short, and a batsman pulls it over the boundary ropes it is the best thing in cricket. Sadly that has fallen off a bit,” Ambrose said.
“But if you look at world cricket now most of the teams have at least two quick fast bowlers, (Kagiso) Rabada, Jofra Archer, who is just starting his career, Mitchell Starc. There are still a few guys around who can cause some problems. If you look at the West Indies, there is Shannon Gabriel, who can bowl 90-miles plus on a consistent basis. We also have a young Oshane Thomas. However, they do need some help from the pitch. I think sometimes the wickets are too slow.”
Ambrose has seen enough potential in Proteas talisman Rabada during his fiery new-ball burst against India that could spell extreme danger for batsmen in the World Cup moving forward.
“Rabada is a young man. He is still learning the art. But he is doing extremely well at the moment. When guys like (Allan) Donald and (Shaun) Pollock left the scene, you always figured they were big boots to fill. But then (Dale) Steyn came on the scene and did extremely well and now Rabada.
He is only 24, so he is still a young man. He is learning and I believe he is only going to get better. He is a force and his going to be a big force for South Africa for a while,” Ambrose said.
Rabada will have another opportunity to unleash his thunderbolts in Saturday’s day-nighter against Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens.