A rattling experience for bowlers, says Srinath

A rattling experience for bowlers, says Srinath

In his prime, Javagal Srinath, once dubbed the world’s fastest vegetarian fast bowler, had knocked down quite a few batsmen and each incident had had a sobering effect on him.

From internationals like South African batsman Meyrick Pringle and Sri Lanka’s Ashoka de Silva to league cricketer Muniratna of ITI back home, many batsmen have been at the receiving end of Srinath’s snorters and the subsequent injuries have had a debilitating impact on their careers. For instance, Pringle could play just one more Test upon his return after a prolonged hiatus following his eye injury caused by a Srinath bouncer.

“It’s quite rattling deep down,” said Srinath when asked about what a bowler goes through when a batsman is badly hurt. “I mean forget about death, because that’s the worst thing that can happen to somebody anyway, but even if a batsman got hurt, it left me a worried man. In my career, although bouncer was part of my strategy, the intention was never there to hurt a batsman. The worst thing for me was to see blood spilling on the field... It has happened to me in my career... Meyrick Pringle, Ashok de Silva and Muniratna (of ITI), Bhupinder Singh (sr). It takes the sting out of your bowling immediately. It’s phenomenon after which you just can’t be normal,” he elaborated.

While Srinath said Hughes demise was a big loss, his heart went out to paceman Sean Abbott whose bouncer eventually proved fatal for Hughes.

 “This is one of those incidents which people will never forget. My prayers are with Hughes family and friends. Personally, however, I feel sad for Abbott also. What he is going through at this point in time, I can completely empathise and sympathise with him. I know he will be traumatised and care should be taken to ensure that he isn’t adversely affected by this terrible tragedy.”

The Karnataka stalwart, whose aversion to words like ‘killer instinct’ is apparent, once even said sorry to Ricky Ponting after the former Aussie skipper was hit on his helmet.
“It could be Ricky Ponting in Brisbane or Pringle in South Africa or even Muni of ITI...” pointed out Srinath when asked which incident was most painful for him. “The kind of damage the batsmen go through, I think it’s tremendous. Some people lose their technique, they lose their game. People like Pringle and Bhupinder just lost their game and I really feel sad for them. It changes the course of their very game itself.

“But the impact is equally bad on the bowler. No matter how aggressive you are, everybody has a human side to him and that side rattles the person. You don’t aim to hurt anyone. If the ball had struck him one inch here and there or a micro second of early movement, he would have survived. It’s so strange, you tend to become so philosophical sometimes.”

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