Former Australian pace bowler Shaun Tait has explained why pacers struggle to bowl over 150 kmph consistently in recent times. He also added that players now don’t have input into their ‘robot-like’ training programs and are they are being ‘spoon-fed’ by team physios as well.
Shaun Tait, who has represented the country in 59 international matches, recently in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda has stated: “I can talk about this for an hour… I think anywhere you go right now, bowling programs are very similar, workload, programs, you have to do this, you have to do that. Whereas when I played, before that Shoaib and Brett Lee, our programs were there but we had a big input into them. We were not faced with almost like a robot-type thing. You are not doing the same thing, day in, day out. You are not being told by people what to do all the time. You are taking a bit of onus on your career and doing what feels good for your body.”
He further added that the increasing ‘professionalism’ in the game is also hurting them. He again suggested that players should be allowed to make some decisions on their workload as well.
“Nowadays they are told ‘Now, have a rest day’, ‘Bowl a certain amount of balls this day.’ For me, it was like, I’ll bowl hard for two days and I’ll have two days off and my body felt like I needed a break, so I’ll take a break. The training wasn’t really really structured, we did different kinds of things and had input in that as well. Obviously, the professionalism of cricket has come into it, a lot of guys have got jobs to look after programs for fast bowlers. I think it’s hurting express bowling a little bit. Sometimes I think we should let cricketers make their decisions themselves rather than telling them what to do and spoon-feeding them,” Shaun Tait again shared.
However, among the recent bowlers, only Australia pacer Mitchell Starc has bowled a 160.4 kmph delivery whereas England’s Jofra Archer and Mark Wood’s fastest deliveries are 155 and 154.98 kmph respectively. On the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah has also bowled the 153 kmph mark as well. He also stated that nowadays fast-bowlers are ‘too afraid’ of their injuries and also shared that professional trainers and physiotherapists also don’t allow them free reign as their jobs depend on the players’ fitness as well.
He continued: “It’s also about preserving your career, I suppose. See, I was a bit dumb. I continued to try and bowl fast all the time and I didn’t play as much cricket as I should have because my body was no good. Bowlers get a lot of criticism from the media about being injury prone or not playing certain games because they are tired. Seeing that, I think the guys are now too afraid to not let their body go and get injured.”
“Also, yeah, physiotherapists, fitness trainers, they have got a job to do and their card is marked on injuries, they have got a big say on bowling programs because if a bowler gets injured, it looks bad on them. It’s a controversial thing to say, but I believe it’s true,” Shaun Tait concluded.