Former West Indies pace bowler and commentator Michael Holding feels he has seen a huge transformation in the Indian team’s fitness levels from the time he used to compete against India in the 70s and 80s.
“Well, it’s a totally different era when it comes to Indian cricket. When I played against India, probably two of the players were fit. Now everybody on the field is fit. You see how athletic they are, how dynamic they are,” Holding told Indian Express on Monday.
The 67-year-old, who took 249 wickets in 60 Tests, said that while the skill levels were quite the same as during his time, the transformation now was more on account of “change of attitude” and fitness.
“The skill level hasn’t really changed that much but when you have fitness, and change of attitude along with skill level, obviously the cricket will also change.”
Holding also attributed the improvement in Indian cricket to the quality of pitches.
“What has also helped Indian cricket is that a lot of pitches in India, for domestic cricket and cricket in general, have improved. The ball bounces a lot more and since it carries, batsmen are able to cope on overseas pitches.
“In my time, once India left India, that was it. The pitches that they played in India were slow and low and it became dusty”: he added.
Recalling a conversation with former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar about why the pitches played slow and low in the country during their playing days, Holding said, “When I did a series in India in 2014-15 when West Indies came and the tour was abandoned, each time I would do a pitch report with Sunny Gavaskar, I would joke and say, ‘Sunny, how come the pitches weren’t like this when we used to play here?’ Good pitches create good cricketers.”