Be aggressive, says Thommo

Pacer's talk : Bowlers need to be positive always: Aussie great

Be aggressive, says Thommo

 Stating that flat pitches and changing rules of the game has tilted the balance of the game in favour of the batsmen, former Australia pace ace Jeff Thomson said one needed to work that much harder to be a successful bowler.

The Aussie great, who terrorised batsmen with his searing pace and toe-crushing deliveries in the 1970s, said bowlers needed to dismiss the thought of cricket being a batsman’s game and stressed that they need to be on the aggressive side on a consistent basis to remain effective.

Speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a bowling foundation in the city, Thomson spoke on the evolving role of a bowler, grooming young talent and the challenges of bowling in three formats of the game. Excerpts:

On challenges faced by bowlers: It is pretty hard work to be a fast bowler. On flat pitches, if you get hit in the first couple of overs and if you are an opening bowler, you are taken off. It is a mental thing between captain and teams. You have got to trust the bowler a bit more. Just because it is a flat pitch, it doesn’t mean that a fast bowler wouldn’t work or take wickets. You have to get the field right as well. At the same time, bowlers need to adapt to all three formats and be accurate.

On bowler’s approach to the game: You can’t ever think of cricket being a batsman’s game as a fast bowler. You have to be positive. It doesn’t mean that you need to bowl short. You have to make the batsman play the way you want him to play. If you keep throwing them up, he’s going to move forward and hit you off the park. Bowlers must make in-roads and get there and change the mindset of the batsman. You are not here for a picnic. You are here to win.

On grooming youngsters: One of the important aspects while learning is that apart from bowling properly, youngsters have got to look at a batsman, look at the way he holds the bat, his footwork — whether he goes forward and his movement. These are all things we picked up and the kids need to know before they go out there. 

On the need to be aggressive: If a bowler is not aggressive, I believe he is wasting his time. Even spin bowlers are aggressive now. As a bowler, you have to back and motivate yourself. I don’t like it when the society says you are bad man if you are bowling a bouncer. Too many people are having a go at too many things these days. Cricket hasn’t changed much — only the rule that you need to bowl one bouncer an over. If someone bowls two, then you are a bad guy! That’s  a bad rule I feel. Batsmen are wearing helmets and protective gear but yet you are not allowed to bowl short. So some rules are a bit crazy.

On the opportunities for bowlers: There’s more opportunity and money in the game now than it was before. There are so many formats and competitions. It is fantastic that there are lot of chances for youngsters today and they need to cash in on it.

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