Kolkata, April 11: There was a time when fast bowlers were considered to be a rare breed in India. In the days after the likes of Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar, India were spearheaded by Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad but there was a prolonged crisis over the availability of a third seamer.
Fast forward to the late 2010s and India have a different story about fast bowlers. The side is winning games abroad because of its fast bowlers which was hardly the scenario earlier. Ever since the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra set up a trend, India's pace bowling has only become better and today there are a whole lot of options to pick from - Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) have also widened India's fast bowlers' talent base and the supply line looks solid than ever before. Of the current players, injuries have time and again ruled out players like Bhuvneshwar and Shami even though the overall fitness standard has improved. Yet, it is always good to have good alternatives ready to chip and here are some names that India can hope to bank on in the days to come.
1. Avesh Khan
Madhya Pradesh's Avesh Khan, a 22-year-old right-arm medium fast bowler, had played in the U-19 World Cup in 2016 alongside Khaleel Ahmed who has already made his India debut. Avesh had impressed in that tournament with his pace and accuracy. Avesh played just one game in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2017 and has been signed by Delhi Capitals this year for which also he has played a game so far. Avesh has 58 wickets in 16 first-class games so far with three five-wicket hauls.
2. Prasidh Krishna
Bengaluru-born Prasidh Krishna is another young pacer who has the potential to go a long distance. Having played just six first-class games since making debut in 2015, Krishna made an impressive debut in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) last year. Prasidh's ability to bowl fast and with passion saw KKR captain Dinesh Karthik keeping faith in him even at crunch moments. Prasidh has 50 wickets from 33 List 'A' games at an average of 26.6 and he can be nurtured as a long-term prospect.
3. Khaleel Ahmed
A bowler who idolises Zaheer, the 21-year-old Khaleel can fulfil India's need for a left-arm seamer over the long term. Khaleel, who plays for Rajasthan, has already played eight ODIs and nine T20Is, taking 21 wickets. Khaleel, who made his international debut against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup last year, is known for moving the ball both ways and even though he hasn't played much in the IPL, the very experience of sharing the dressing room with some of the game's best has seen him benefiting a lot.
4. Deepak Chahar
A bowler in great form this IPL, Chahar might not be as young as Avesh and Khaleel, yet he still has the age on his side to make it big on international stage. The Rajasthan player is currently doing great for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and can hope to extend his international career further. He also made his ODI debut in the Asia Cup last year like Khaleel while he played his only T20I against England, also last year, picked one wicket in each format.
5. Navdeep Saini
Although the RCB have struggled as a team this IPL, some of its individuals have done well and pacer Navdeep Saini is one of them. The 26-year-old Delhi bowler who has over 100 wickets in first-class cricket has impressed with his show in IPL 2019 after a slow start and could be a strong contender for a national berth in times to come.