Legendary West Indies bowler Sir Andy Roberts has expressed concern that the current generation of players is suffering from a lack of genuine pace.
In his heyday, Roberts was part of a generation of fierce West Indian pace bowlers, a line-up which also included the likes of Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, and Malcolm Marshall, who were all known for terrorizing opposition batsmen with brutally quick deliveries.
While admitting that the up-and-coming pace bowlers can at times reach top speeds, Roberts does not believe the performances have been sustained for long enough periods of time.
“What West Indies has been lacking for a while is a genuine fast bowler. We have fast bowlers, but we don’t have anyone of genuine pace who at night the batsmen can’t see because you are thinking of tomorrow. We haven’t had that for a long time,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio program.
The former quick believes a part of the issue has to do with the workload required to sustain top speeds throughout a game.
“Fast bowling is hard work, and a lot of people don’t like to work hard. They believe that the ball comes quicker off the pitch than when you release it. They are not prepared to put in the hard work, the donkey work," he added.
“I find that our fast bowlers can’t bowl fast for more than 2 or 3 overs. It’s because they’re not strong enough, their legs are not strong enough.”
Windies paceman Shannon Gabriel is currently the fastest of the current crop, but Roberts believes, even for him, there is a significant drop-off in pace the longer the bowler plays in a match.
“It’s your legs that carry you through as a fast bowler not just your chest…when Shannon Gabriel was bowling in the 90s, he bowled a number of balls 92, 95 but that was between 10 and 11 o clock between 2 and 3 o clock it's down to high 80s. Why, because his legs aren’t strong enough.”
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