Current Indian pacers lack skill and discipline: Jeff Thomson

Mumbai, Sep 14 (IANS) Legendary fast bowler Jeff Thomson believes that the current group of Indian pacers lack skill and discipline, which was mainly exposed during India’s tour of Australia in the 2014-2015 season.

Thomson is in the city as the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has roped him in for a month-long stint at its bowling academy where young pacers from around the city will be trained by the Australian legend.

He will put in another month-long stint at the academy in May next year.

“Indian bowlers lack the skill and discipline, where they pitch the ball all the time. That was the biggest thing I saw when the Indian team toured Australia last time. The bowlers did not ball in the right areas. They lost, then their concentration dropped, number of overs dropped and eventually made it very hard,” Thomson told reporters here on Monday.

“With just good batsman one cannot win matches. You have to have that strength in the bowling also to pick 20 wickets of the opposition,” he added.

The former pacer was specially known for his unusual slinging action and an aggressive approach which instilled fear in the hearts of several batsmen in the 1970s.

Speaking about the aggressive nature of current pace bowlers, the 65-year-old, said, “A fast bowler has to be aggressive, you can’t be a nice guy and say that was good shot and applause the batsman. You have to come harder and harder at the batsman and try to get him out. You have to be aggressive; you want to be World’s No. 1 bowler.”

“To be at the top spot, you have to be aggressive and bowl at your strengths. You have to better than his teammate. Someone you may fall short of that but you will learn from that,” said the former pacer who played 51 Tests and 50 One-Day Internationals to claim a total of 255 wickets for his country.

When asked about his thoughts on Ishant Sharma who recently had a successful Test series in Sri Lanka, Thomson remarked that the pacer is talented, but lacks discipline, just like most of the players in the Indian team.

The Australian also felt that Ishant is not in the place where he should have been at this point in his career.

“Ishant lacks a bit of discipline. Like I said the whole lot lacks a bit of discipline. He is playing for India for a long time. In between he lost the plot a bit. He also lost a lot of pace. He looked injured to me last summer in Australia. He is not where he should have been. He should have got more bounce and bowled well with the height he has. He has good skill but he has to be reminded what he has to do,” Thomson said.

MCA have selected a maximum of 30 pacers in the 19 and above age group to be part of the foundation.

The training for the young Mumbai bowlers will be held throughout the year at the Sharad Pawar Indoor Stadium, formerly known as the MCA Club at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

Speaking on his role as a coach, Thomson said, “I just want to pass on my knowledge to the young Mumbai bowlers and show them where they are lacking and where they need to improve.”

“I see a lot of false coaching happening these days. I don’t want to name anyone, but lots of bad and false coaching is happening. The biggest thing in a fast bowler is skill and control, and that’s why I am here for,” Thomson said.

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