Bhuvi always excites me whenever he bowls: Banerjee

'Hitting the right length will be the key in conditions in England and Australia'

By Author   |   Published: 12th Feb 2018   12:11 am Updated: 13th Feb 2018   1:41 am
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
Subroto Banerjee

Hyderabad: Subroto Banerjee was one of the exciting swing bowlers of the 90s. He was part of the Indian team that had the legendary Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Manoj Prabhakar and others in the ranks. The 48-year-old was unfortunate to play only one Test and six one-day internationals. “Perhaps we missed a bowling coach in the Indian team.”

Banerjee is in Hyderabad as Vidarbha’s bowling coach and played a huge role in the team’s maiden Ranji Trophy title win this season. Going down the memory lane, Banerjee said there were a mixture of bowlers – some of them could swing while few could hit the deck in the Indian team then.

“There was a competition. We were all tall. We had pace and swing. It was good to play in that era. We gave the belief that India could produce fast bowlers. Till then it was all about spin in India. We had a role model in Kapil Dev, the sultan of swing bowling. He was a classical bowler and it was great to have someone like him in the team. It was always a joy to see him bowl and the way he plotted a dismissal. I was hugely motivated by Kapil Dev.”

Modest to say he was a decent bowler, Banerjee could move the ball both ways. “I learnt a trick or two by watching Kapil Dev. We always had a healthy discussion. But somehow I could not continue long in my career. Perhaps I missed a bowling coach, who could have guided me.”

However, Banerjee said he was lucky to be part of the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. “I was fortunate to train under the great Dennis Lillee. He was the best coach. The important thing was whenever I stood near him he would ask me to coach the other young bowlers. I think I learnt the basics of coaching from Lillee.”

Talking about present Indian pace bowlers, he said they have come of age. “It is good to see the Indian pace bowlers are able to generate good pace and swing. They are really progressing very well. They have created a buzz now. There is a lot of variety of fast bowlers. The Indian pace bowlers have the hunger now. For instance, in the under-19 World Cup, Kamlesh Nagerkoti, Ishan Porel and Mavi bowled fast and swung the ball. I am also impressed with Rajneesh Gurbani, the young Vidarbha fast bowler. He is hungry and eager to learn.”

Banerjee was confident of Indian fast bowlers taking wickets in South Africa. “(Jasprit) Bumrah is an amazing bowler with a different action. His ability to move the ball with good pace can trouble any batsman in the world. I’m a big fan of Bhuvi (Bhuvaneshwar Kumar). I like the way he moves the ball. I used to bowl like Bhuvi. He always excites me whenever he bowls as he can swing either way. It is not necessary to touch 140 km. With 135, Bhuvi can trouble any batsman. Shami bowls at 140 km and can move both ways. Umesh Yadav has the pace and swing. He should play more matches for India.”

The coach said in England and Australia, Indian fast bowlers can make the difference. “These bowlers need to be managed nicely. It is all about the adaptability. Our fast bowlers are good enough to adjust to different conditions as they did it in South Africa. Hitting the right length will be the key in these conditions.”

He pointed out the trend has changed. “Now, India is producing quality fast bowlers than spinners. There are some good and green wickets in India.”