The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Zaheer will carry our pace attack: Sekar

Chennai, Oct. 19: If there is anyone best qualified to speak of fast bowlers in India, besides Kapil Dev, it has got to be T.A. Sekar. The former India pacer and national selector has been at the helm of the MRF Pace Foundation for years now and it is under his tutelage that the Zaheer Khans have come through.

“We have at least proved that the country has the system and infrastructure to produce fast bowlers in plenty. We’ve got the latest equipment including a huge bio-mechanic laboratory that provides state-of-the-art facilities,” Sekar told The Telegraph, in between watching the second Test, on Saturday.

While Zaheer has been an out-and-out Foundation protégé, Ajit Agarkar, Debashish Mohanty and Tinu Yohannan have sought help from Sekar and Dennis Lillee during various stages of their careers.

Sekar takes immense pride in being a part of the process, aimed at churning out world-class fast bowlers and thereby helping India build up an intimidating pace attack. Zaheer’s performance, he feels, has proved that the Foundation has been in the right path.

“From day one, Zaheer was focused on his job. He worked hard and got the breaks at the right time. Being left-arm he obviously had an advantage. He has proved worthy of his achievements.

“The only thing I miss in him now is that he is yet to achieve a five-wicket haul in Tests. At the same time, don’t forget he hasn’t played in Australia and New Zealand, considered to be havens for fast bowlers. With more maturity he will ultimately carry the mantle of India’s pace attack,” the city-based Sekar remarked.

He also feels a few technical problems is hindering Ashish Nehra’s success. “He has the capabilities but needs to do a few technical adjustments. Otherwise injuries will hinder his fledgling career.

“Nehra’s action is past side-on. This puts a lot of strain on his groin. He has to ease his back foot a bit to lessen the strain.

“Moreover he is running a bit too fast. He should start slowly and gradually build up. These little adjustments will help Nehra be more accurate and effective,” explained Sekar.

Agarkar has worked with Sekar and Lillee in the past and they had helped him correct his action to “reduce the strain on his back”. But, Sekar felt, the Mumbai allrounder was “going back to his previous ways.”

“Agarkar is a support medium pacer. He has got a good arm but is inconsistent.

“He seems to be more round-arm in his action — the bowling arm doesn’t seem to start from where it should have been ideal for him. As a result, the effect on hitting the seam is not always consistent. It’s a minor thing that needs to be looked into.

“The problem is that there is no one to tell them about the inadequacies. These things can happen when you are playing on a regular basis. You can drift away from the basic technique. A more scientific approach is needed to keep the stability going,” he felt.

Sekar regrets the Board has not used the facilities of the Foundation to the maximum. “The Sri Lankan, English and Zimbabwe boards send their promising and young fast bowlers over here. The seniors and more experienced are sent for refresher courses.

“For a man like Kapil, finding time will be a hindrance. He could be more useful in helping out on the mental aspects in clinics of short duration,” the former pacer, who is ready to serve the country in any capacity, said.

Sekar felt Jawagal Srinath should be allowed to decide his own fate. “He’s the best person to judge his fitness. After over a decade of international cricket, the motivation and energy level will never be the same. Take the example of Allan Donald.

“If Srinath wants to play only in the ODIs, so be it. After all, his services can always be sought for crucial Tests. You’ve got to respect his deeds,” Sekar signed off.

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