With Johnson retired, Steyn to follow, who will carry forward the legacy?Whispering Death, White Lightning, Rawalpindi Express were few names given to erstwhile speed merchants, who always bayed for batsmen’s blood with their threatening pace. A deadly fast bowler always takes pride in knocking a batsman down with his menacing bowling.
Fearsome fast bowlers can be seen as rare species in world cricket. Like an endangered variety, they also get the special attention and respect not only from teammates but across the cricket playing nations.
In contemporary cricket, Mitchell Johnson and Dale Steyn have earned the reputation of being the most lethal pacers in world cricket. The 34-year-old Australian recently bid adieu to international cricket and the South African too, is at the fag end of his career, which indicates towards the end of another fast bowling era.
Thus far, nations like West Indies, Australia and to an extent Pakistan have majorly produced bowlers who have terrorized batsmen with their sheer pace and fiery spells in different eras.
End of an era also means starting of a new one. And on that note, let’s find out who are the pacers, who could possible take the baton from assassins like Steyn and Johnson to carry forward the fast bowling legacy.
Mitchell Starc: Still young, Starc has already made a name for himself in International cricket. A couple of breathtaking international spells, followed by outstanding ICC World Cup 2015, proved good enough for the left-arm pacer to make a buzz. The lanky speedster takes full advantage of his height to extract plenty of pace and bounce.
Starc, 25, has the ability to bring the ball back sharply to the right-handers at a good pace, which makes him unplayable at times. His toe-crushing yorkers, reverse swing with the old ball and swift bouncers make him a complete bowler, who is almost set to make life miserable for batsmen in time to come.
The pacer has recently proved his credentials once again by bowling a thunderbolt delivery, clocking 160.4 kmph, at WACA against New Zealand, which has become the fastest bowl registered ever in history of Test cricket.
James Pattinson: Pattinson is another Australian who loves to bowl fast and hit the deck hard. A strongly built youngster does look menacing with the ball in hand. Pattinson carries a perfect fast bowler's attitude. He is certainly one of the pacers to watch out for in the next few years. The Aussie made a big statement on Test debut, where he picked a five-for against New Zealand.
Pattinson, 25, has the potential to take on any world-class batting line-up. One thing that has troubled the pacer in the recent past, though, is his fitness. And being a tearaway bowler, one is always prone to injuries. If fit, he can intimidate any batting line-up in the world, with his extra pace and impeccable line and length. Don’t be surprised to see him calling the shots in international cricket soon.
Kagiso Rabada: The South African is the new bowling sensation in world cricket, who not only has a lot of variety up his sleeves but also has the ability to surprise a batsman with his extra speed and bounce. The youngster, who created history by claiming a hat-trick on his ODI debut against Bangladesh, impressed many with his sheer chutzpah on his debut tour to India.
Just 20, Rabada already has a mature head on his shoulders. He has aggression of a fast bowler but
still not a prima donna. Rabada is an exciting kid on the block, who has a knack of bowling quick and well directed bouncers to send a shiver or two down the spine of a batsman. His recent display of fast bowling against India in the limited-overs cricket was enough to understand the potential of the bower. With experience, Rabada can only become more lethal and fiery.
Umesh Yadav: Shoaib Akhtar once passed a statement saying he was in awe with Umesh Yadav’s physique and went on to claim that the Indian is a prototype fast bowler. Yadav has raw pace, good run up, smooth action followed by an outstanding follow through. He has everything a fast bowler asks for. He just needs to work on his line and length.