Balaji and Pathan are ~~on track~~: Lillee

Published: Saturday, June 19, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:Indian pace bowlers Laxmipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan were "on track", observed Dennis Lillee, former Australian speedster and a master in the art of pace bowling.

Talking to reporters after assessing the fast-bowling trainees of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bangalore, the Aussie great said "the Indian pace bowlers were back here with a bit of deep breath after their Australian tour.

"They learnt a lot at the MRF Academy in here (Chennai) and worked in the right way against Pakistan. Obviously, they performed with some confidence and that showed in the way they found success in Pakistan. I am happy that they are on track."

On their sustaining the high level of performance, Lillee said that they should not ignore injuries or mistakes. "They are always welcome to come back to me. There is an old saying that if something is broken do not fix it," he said.

On the recurrence of Zaheer Khan's injury, the pace guru said, "Unless I know what work load they are undergoing, I cannot really say on this. But I assume that there has to be some problem in his workload or specific bad tendencies to work on injuries in trying to recover from one injury.

"Instead they back off from physical work that they are normally supposed to do. If you rush back too soon for competitions, injuries recur," he said.

He was full of praise for Raghavendra Rao, one of the six trainees, who is in the academy for "fine tuning".

"One of the six boys sent by Brijesh (Patel) from Bangalore is a good potential. I had that feeling on my first look at the boy. Even at this tender age, he has some good attributes. It also proves that the NCA is doing a good job," he said.

He said "products of NCA" are generally of pretty good quality and that they were showing good signs. "Muscle strengthening and fitness work are necessary for pace bowlers."Some have natural qualities. Garry Sobers and Jeff Thompson are rarities. You do not find such cricketers now.

"These days a bowler runs around 20 to 30 metres for 250 to 260 times a day and need to back up the next day and so on. It is a fair challenge of workload that they have to undertake. If a bowler fails to attend to the routine workload, there will be lot more injuries," he added.

As for the withdrawal of Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka's tour of Australia, Lillee maintained that he should have toured.

"I just cannot understand why he is not touring".

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