West Indies team does not have a fast bowler - Andy Roberts © AFP
West Indies team does not have a fast bowler – Andy Roberts © AFP

Post the defeat of West Indies in the third One-Day International (ODI) of the ongoing series against India and their continuance downfall, former West Indian pacer Andy Roberts has come up with some strong advice for the current crop of bowlers. Roberts, who was a part of the famous pace quartet of the 1970s and 80s, believes that cricket is becoming a sissy’s game as the changes in the laws of the game are making players less aggressive as compared to their generation. He also believes that currently there is no genuine fast bowler in the West Indies squad, not even Alzarri Joseph.

“He is not fast. No, he is not fast. He bowls medium pace at 85 and 86 miles,” Roberts told Indian Express. “What some of these guys need to do is speak to people, especially those from the past, and learn about their methods of training which made them bowl quick,” he added. ALSO READ: Kohli hints at making changes in playing XI for 4th ODI against WI

He further commented on the decline of fast bowling around the world. “We don’t have enough pacers in the world. No one’s bowling fast because rules for short-pitched bowling have changed, batsmen are fully protected. The rules of the game are cutting aggression. You cannot even stare hard at the batsmen else they would fine you. They are taking all the aggression out of the game,” said the 66-year old.

When asked to compare cricket from his playing days with the modern-day game, Roberts said in his time, cricket was for people with a lion’s heart and not for those who were chicken-hearted. He also said that cricket is not for women and it is a gentlemen’s game. “As a spectator what do you like to see, aggression between batsman and a fast bowler. Cricket, when I played, wasn’t for the chicken-hearted, it was for people with a lion’s heart. Not anymore. What part of cricket is gentle? Let me ask you, women are playing, is it a female’s game? No. People who make all these rules make them sissy’s game,” added the West-Indian legend.

He is also amused by the time fast bowlers spent in the gym rather than focusing on running.  Roberts, who played 47 Tests and scalped 202 wickets, said, “I have been asking all along, why do you need the gym? To build muscles? But is fast bowling about muscles, or is it about strength? You build strength only through running and speaking about the West Indies pacers, I think they are not doing enough running.”

Roberts also said the current West Indies squad lacks strength and the bowlers are not spending much time on the field. “They may be playing more matches but they are spending less time on the field. T20 is four overs, ODIs are less and less now, it is 10 overs. In a Test match, you could bowl as many as 20-25 overs a day. Yeah, there are too many matches but (bowlers are) not spending time on a field. They are not bowling as much. We would play back-to-back ODIs, sometimes they’d fit in an ODI on the rest day. But now there is a gap.”