Steyn is the only pacer in World Cricket now: Holding

Last Updated: Mar 06, 2011, 23:01 PM IST

Karachi: West Indies former fast bowling great Michael Holding believes pacers are born not made and said South African quick Dale Steyn is the only pacer playing Test cricket currently.

Holding feels mere coaching, gym work or fitness routines cannot not turn trundlers into fast bowlers.

"You can`t make a fast bowler. You can`t take anyone and put them in a gymnasium and give them whatever exercises and strengthen their body and turn out a fast bowler," Holding said.

"You have to be born a fast bowler. You`ve got to have the rhythm and the coordination and everything else that it takes to bowl that fast. Strength, hard work and practice alone cannot make a fast bowler. It`s not just physical.. it`s a lot of other things combined," he said.

One of the greatest fast bowler`s to emerge from the Caribbean, Holding terrorised batsmen in the 80s and feels that nowadays global fast bowling stocks appear to have deteriorated significantly, with very few genuine pacers still playing Test cricket on a regular basis.

"Well, there`s only one right now ? Dale Steyn. He is the only fast bowler in the world playing Test match cricket right now and that`s impressive. The rest of them are either injured, not playing on a regular basis or have retired," he said.

Holding was quick to clarify that bowling military medium pace with an occasional `faster delivery` does not make one a `fast bowler`.

"And when I say fast bowlers, I am not talking about people who bowl 80 miles an hour. Those are not fast bowlers. I am talking about people pushing 90 miles an hour".

Over-work, fixture congestion, and lack of appropriate recovery time after injuries were cited by Holding as the key reasons why modern day fast bowlers do not last long at Test level, and are either injured, such as West Indian hopefuls Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards, or have given up on Test cricket altogether.

"A lot of the fast bowlers - not just West Indian fast bowlers - get injured on a regular basis these days because of the amount of cricket that they play. Look around the world right now and tell me the number of fast bowlers who are playing Test cricket," he said.

Holding also felt that shorter careers were also due to a hectic cricket schedule these days and cited the example of Australian Brett Lee.

"Brett Lee is a young man, he retired from Test match cricket because he could not take the strain. He is playing the shorter form of the game and playing it quite successfully," he said.

"Shaun Tait ? well, he retired even before Brett Lee! And I think he might be younger than Brett Lee. Look around the world and see how many fast bowlers are really left? Shane Bond ? he was constantly on and off the field."

"Again, when I say fast bowlers, I`m not talking about people who run in from 40 yards or 30 yards. I`m talking about people who are bowling close to 90 miles an hour.. that`s what I call a fast bowler. There aren`t many around the world right now. Dale Steyn is the only one who bowls at that pace and can maintain that pace on a regular basis and can maintain that pace and produce results," he added.

Holding also said a full-time coaching position does not suit his temperament.

"My mother was a teacher but I didn`t get her patience for coaching or teaching. I don`t have the patience to coach," he said.

PTI