In a discussion about fast bowlers on a Sky Sports podcast with Michael Holding and Stuart Broad, former South African all rounder Shaun Pollock said that despite being probably the best fast bowlers for India throughout the ’90s, he believes that Javagal Srinath never quite got the credit that he deserved.
The all rounder who has had an illustrious career, amassing 3781 runs and taken 421 wickets in his 108 Test match career, said, “I thought India’s Javagal Srinath didn’t get the credit he deserved.”
In my era, you had great combinations like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis for Pakistan and Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh for West Indies. Australia had Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. You now have James Anderson and Stuart Broad in this era.” Pollock added.
Pollock went on to talk about one of Holding’s new ball partners, the great West Indian, Malcolm Marshall. He spoke the following about the great fast bowler hailing from Bridgetown, “(Malcolm) Marshall was next level and I was lucky enough to meet him early in my career as it made me think about fast bowling in a completely different way.”
Among the bowlers from the recent past, Pollock said that one speedster who has impressed him the most is one of his own countryman, Dale Steyn, who had overtaken him as South Africa’s leading wicket taker in Tests back in December 2018, currently with 439 wickets to his name.
“But since I’ve stopped playing, l cannot have enough respect for (Dale) Steyn. His ability to shape the ball upfront at high speed and then come back later and reverse it,” he said.
“He cranked it up on flat wickets and had such a good action and variations. He is something special and his stats back it up.”
Pollock also talked about his experience from his playing days and what it was like to open the bowling with the likes of Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini.
“Talking about partnerships, I think I was very fortunate with two guys, I had Allan (Donald) and Makhaya Ntini, first of all, Allan was so established, so when you came into the unit, you know, he was the leader, I had to run into the wind, so that’s where I sort of did a bit of damage. I think we complemented each other very well. Makhaya came in really wide of the crease, making people play a lot of deliveries and then me, nice and close to the stumps, nice and tight, trying to get them to play, because they were used to bat on ball when they faced him, so, there’s no doubt that partnerships are key.” He said.
Javagal Srinath had more success against South Africa than any other Indian player, be it on home or away turf. Two months after his Test debut, Javagal Srinath picked up 4/33 in the 4th Test in 1993 at Cape Town. Later in 1996, when South Africa toured India, the Mysore Express presented one of the most talked about fast bowling spells among Indians to this day. Chasing 170, South Africa crumbled to 105 all out, as Srinath picked up 6/21. He finished that Test series as the highest wicket taker, with 17 wickets to his name, as India won the series 2-1. Later that year, India toured South Africa, and despite losing the Test Series 2-0, Srinath picked up 5/104 in the 3rd Test. Later in that tour, during an ODI Tri Series involving these two teams and Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean captain Alistair Campbell claimed that Srinath was clocked at bowling a 157 kilometers per hour(98 mph) in a game between India and Zimbabwe.
He said, “We then moved on to our second game against India, at Boland Bank Park. In all 236 was quite a decent score, as it wasn’t the easiest of pitches to bat on, and Srinath I think, bowled the quickest than any of our guys had ever seen. He bowled a really quick spell early on, even quicker than Allan Donald; he was timed at 157 km/h, a good 10 km/h faster than Donald was bowling throughout the tournament. Grant Flower was hit on the thigh pad, and when he came off he said he thought he had broken his leg.”
India toured South Africa 4 years later, for a two Test match series, and a Triangular ODI series with Kenya being the third team. Although, India lost the Test Series 1-0, Srinath bowled his heart out, returning with figures of 5/140 in the first Test and 6/76 in the second.
Srinath also has numerous unique records to his name, such as world’s best bowling figures (13 wickets for 132 runs) in a test match for the losing side, second highest not outs in World Cup history, and one of the 11 bowlers to have taken more than 300 wickets in ODI Cricket. He is also the highest wicket taker in ODI and World Cup Cricket among Indian fast bowlers. After retiring from Cricket professionally, Srinath turned to match refereeing, and has served in 35 Tests, 194 ODIs including the 2007 World Cup, and 60 T20Is.