Home > Features >

Adam Milne: Yet another genuine fast bowler emerges from the stables of New Zealand cricket

Adam Milne © Getty Images
The razor-sharp delivery that shapes back into the right-hander is Adam Milne’s stock delivery © Getty Images

By Bharath Ramaraj

There is hardly anything that matches the thrills and spills of watching a thoroughbred fast bowler charging into the crease with an impassioned soldier-like tenacity, and scaring the wits of a batsman playing with cold hands in fear. It stirs the crowd and even lifts the fielding side to dive around like panthers. When Adam Milne of New Zealand bowled a few quick spells in the recent series against the West Indies, it seemed to have lifted the sagging spirits of an entire New Zealand line-up.

It has been a while since Milne was earmarked for success after he took a stackful of wickets in his debut First-Class game against a fine Canterbury batting line-up on paper. At the tender age of just 18, he even played for New Zealand in a Twenty20 International (T20I) match against Pakistan.

Milne on his fascination to bowl with venomous pace said, “At the start of high school I was a runty kid and bowled little mediums. Then at the end of sixth form [at Palmerston North Boys’ High School], I started bowling a lot quicker than I had before and that’s when I thought if I run in hard I can bowl quicker than a lot of people,” stated Milne.

The first impressions of Milne is that he is an athlete and has a big heart to bowl fast. Arguably, key factors to succeed for a quickie. For an outsider, watching it from a distance, just like Jason Gillespie of Australia, he seems to hit the bat harder than what a batsman anticipates him to. The razor-sharp delivery that shapes back into the right-hander seems to be his stock delivery.

Unfortunately Milne has been crippled by a spate of injuries including ankle and achilles’ problems. It has made the New Zealand think-tank to wrap him up in cotton wool and allow him to play only that odd T20 or One-Day International (ODI) game.

In fact, one noticeable change since those days of him being constantly injured is that Milne from being a pencil-like frame has bulked up a little bit. As former fast bowlers say, the key to bowling quick over a sustained period of time without getting injured is to strengthen your legs. Even Mitchell Johnson, who has resurrected his career with spellbinding performances in Ashes 2013-14 is said to have spent his blood, sweat and tears in strengthening his legs.

It also has to be remembered that Milne has played only a handful of First-Class games, and he can work his way up the ladder only by playing more four-day games. Actually, New, Zealand’s stratagem of shielding Milne from the longer format of the game is perhaps not helping him. In T20s, young bowlers when they get thumped tend to lose the plot and it can have an effect on their confidence. It requires unwavering self-belief to bowl in the shortest versions of the game.

In T20 cricket, a quick bowler is usually asked to bowl at full throttle during his quota of four overs, whereas in First-Class cricket, a young quick bowler can gradually build up his pace. So, there is a school of thought that contrary to the general opinion, T20 cricket may be the prime reason as to why so many young bowlers find themselves in the knackers yard at such a young age. In his brief career, Milne has struggled to make his mark in either of the shorter formats. It gives an inkling that the strategy is flawed.

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns certainly doesn’t believe in that theory and spoke to Radiosport on the subject of firebrand fast bowler, Milne being wrapped in cotton wool, “If you try and cotton wool people you’re actually giving them a false perception of what’s required at that level so it’s about making sure that people understand they’re going to get hurt and it’s how you deal with that.”

Hopefully, Shane Bond, who at present is the coach of New Zealand would be able to guide the young shining light. Milne, on his childhood hero and current bowling coach of New Zealand, Bond said, “I’ve worked with him (Bond) since I was 17 when he came to Champions League Twenty20 with the Stags. He’s been really good, having been at the top level, he knows what’s required and the discipline you need.”

To bowl fast in the modern era can be a thankless job. With those bazooka bats, a batsman can just bludgeon you through the line and thwack it into the stands. Yes, one can instill the fear factor in a batsman, but it needs a pacer to strive every sinew and a single-minded focus of believing that come what may you won’t cut down on pace. Adam Milne is still a greenhorn and perhaps lacks that mongrel to send shivers down the spine of the batsmen. But he is yet another of those young quickies who has emerged out of New Zealand’s cricketing stables in the last few years, and that should bring smiles on the faces of New Zealand fans.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

India A beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs in tour match; Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Karn Sharma shine

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

West Indies crisis: Trinidad and Tobago condemns West Indies’ pullout from India tour

MS Dhoni told me there’s nothing called ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’: Pankaj Singh

All-India PSU T20 Tournament: Oriental Insurance defeat HPCL

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Najam Sethi as ICC President

Justice Mudgal Committee report on IPL spot-fixing to be submitted on November 3

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here