Ankita Chakrabarty/ Zee Research Group/ Delhi
If cricket is like religion in India, 2011 was the year it was worshipped most in the country. The year 2011 was really the year of cricket.
The year began with Dhoni’s team doing the impossible as India regained the World Cup after 28 years as they suppressed Sri Lanka to script a new chapter in the history of Indian cricket. The other achievements followed in suit. There were many but the key trendsetter has been the emergence of the speed quartet.
India has been the breeding ground for world class batsmen while it starved for quickies but produced some quality spinners in Erapalli Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to name a few. However, 2011 saw the debut of promising fast bowlers and swing bowlers who captured the attention of the critics and finally paved their way to reach the zenith. Welcome the India’s pace and swing battery of Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar and Ashok Dinda.
The Tests and the ODI matches against England and West Indies including the IPL4 saw the speedsters leading the way and carving a niche for themselves.
Ashok Malhotra, former Test cricketer, said, “These young boys do have a lot of potential and with their excellent performances they have warned the world that they are ready to face any challenge.”
Malhotra further added, “These youngsters are also giving competition to the senior players of the team which in itself is an achievement.”
India found a good fast bowler in Varun Aaron when he hit the headlines by bowling 153.4 kph during the 2010-11 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament.
Abhimanyu Mithun’s ODI debut came against South Africa in February 2010 followed by his Test debut on the tour of Sri Lanka.
Umesh Yadav finally entered the big league when he made his Test debut against West Indies in Delhi in November 2011, and picked up two wickets.
Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian skipper commented in his regular newspaper column, “Umesh Yadav is getting better with every outing.”
Vinay Kumar, the anchor of the ship, is the one who many say has the potential of becoming the Glen McGrath of India and Ashok Dinda, the swing bowler of IPL is the next big thing to watch out.
However, the on ground performance is yet to find off ground recognition. “These youngsters still need to groom themselves as all-rounders to attract the advertisement gurus”, said Latika Khaneja, director at Collage sports management.
But it is their on-field performance that is going to drive away the competition and invite the advertisers. Lots of that in 2012, hopefully!