Richardson still sees World Cup success from fast lane

Last Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 18:20 PM IST

Dhaka: In a World Cup in the sub-continent generally expected to be dominated by spinners, the success of fast bowlers has come as very little surprise to former West Indies captain Richie Richardson.

Against all predictions, fast bowlers have ruled the roost so far in the tournament with West Indian Kemar Roach and Sri Lanka`s Lasith Malinga each already notching up a hat-trick in the last two matches.

Australia`s Mitchell Johnson also showed great form and class, taking four wickets in successive matches.

Johnson, Roach and Malinga were among the top five wicket-takers by Wednesday. That list included only one spinner, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who had nine wickets, the best so far.

While Tim Bresnan of England, Hamish Bennett of New Zealand and Munaf Patel of India all had more than five wickets in their first two games, their spin counterparts struggled for success in pitches which normally assist slow bowlers.

Sri Lanka`s Muttiah Muralitharan, the most successful bowler in the sport, has claimed just four wickets while spinners England`s Graeme Swann and India`s Harbhajan Singh had only three and two wickets to their names respectively in their first two games.

"Anything is possible in cricket if guys play well," said West Indies team manager Richardson, regarded as one of the finest batsman of his generation against fast bowling.

"In this part of the world, the wickets have the reputation of favouring the spinners. But at the end of the day if you are good enough as a seam bowler or fast bowler you can do well in any condition," he said.

"It`s all about assessing conditions, assessing the pitches and making the adjustment," said Richardson.

Richardson, who led West Indies in their last World Cup in the sub-continent in 1996, said that fast bowlers had improved their variation in recent times and that came to their help bowling on unfriendly pitches.

"What we find now is a lot of seam bowlers are bowling with lots of variation," he said.

"We see slow balls, bouncers and a lot more variety. It takes a little while before the batsmen get used to all this variety."

Richardson emphasised the importance of adaptation to the new tricks for teams to achieve success.

"The game continues to change and as a player you have to adapt to the changes. The team that adapts very quickly to the changes will do well," he said.

"The teams have got to be innovative, to try different things to be successful in this tournament. You need to have the variety and just surprise the batsman."

Roach, one of the most successful fast bowlers of the tournament so far, said he is not worried about the wickets.

"A fast bowler can bowl fast anywhere," Roach said after a practice session in Dhaka on Wednesday.

"Obviously you know Malinga bowled lovely yesterday (Tuesday) and Mitchell Johnson also got wickets. I also want my name to be there as well," said Roach.

Bureau Report