Young seamer Praveen Kumar takes career-best five wickets on his Lord’s debut to make an instant impression.
At the beginning of the colour television era there was Abid Ali, an awkward-looking character with a funny backward shuffle at the beginning of his run, but an ability to swing the ball away late. He was succeeded by the likes of Madan Lal and Roger Binny, who bowled India to World Cup glory in 1983, spearheaded of course by the legendary Kapil Dev, who had a wicked late outswinger.
Praveen Kumar, 24, is from the same stable. From Uttar Pradesh, where you can fry a samosa on the road in summer, he has a method that is relatively heat resistant. Shuffling to the wicket off an efficient 12-pace run, he has a good pivot at the crease, a whippy action that sets the seam bolt upright and an abbreviated follow through. He looks as if he bowls within himself, but the ball kisses rather than rams into the pitch from a full length and seems to glide off it quicker than it arrived.
A short, squat figure, Praveen appears an unprepossessing sight. Crucially he swings the ball late either way with good disguise. This is achieved by a perfect cocked wrist and making sure the fingers are dragged down behind the ball on release to create backspin, with the seam tilted slightly one way or the other, acting as a rudder.
RELATED SEARCHES: Young seamer Praveen Kumar, England v India, England v India 2011, Praveen Kumar claims the bowling honours, Praveen Kumar, Lord’s, World Cup glory, Kapil Dev, Uttar Pradesh