“Batting may be cricket’s heartbeat, but fast bowling is its pulse,” said Rodney Hogg in the publication Speed Thrills. Hogg added that all batsmen judge themselves against fast bowling and how they deal with the natural fear it generates, and all fast bowlers pray on the anxiety their speed induces.
Judging from the comments by three analysts, the Multiply Titans will create more fear and anxiety in the opposition’s ranks in the 2017/18 season, thanks to the presence of players like Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Junior Dala and Eldred Hawken.
All four of them form part of the newly released professional squad of the Multiply Titans.
They will send the pulse rate into a different bracket, and, according to Pierre Joubert, a former Titans captain, it will be vital to the Titans’ trophy-winning chances.
“There is no substitute for speed. The fastest way to get into a national team, is to bowl at 150 km/h. You also create wickets for other bowlers.
“Speed, in any sport, is a bonus factor and pivotal. Look at what havoc fast wings can create in rugby,” says Joubert.
Fast bowlers who strike and intimidate, are pure gold as their colleagues benefit. Albie Morkel, captain of the Multiply Titans in the limited formats, believes Ngidi will definitely be able to generate even more pace in the new season once his conditioning work and strength exercises gain momentum.
“I would say he would be able to bowl at 140 km/h as a bare minimum,” says Morkel.
“I was in the slips in the Momentum One Day Cup competition when the Titans played against the bizhub Highveld Lions and we were standing back 30 yards and Hawken was hitting the gloves hard.”
The Titans have a rich history of fast bowlers who have won trophies with their exploits, players like Steyn, Morné Morkel, Marchant de Lange, Steve Elworthy and Alfonso Thomas.
In fact, in the past 20 years the Titans have been synonymous with some of the fastest and most astute bowlers produced in South Africa, especially if you cast your mind back to Fanie de Villiers, Rudi Bryson and Tertius Bosch. It has been a fast bowler’s factory.
Mandla Mashimbyi, assistant coach of the Multiply Titans, believes Dala is the type of fast bowler who creates different challenges for batsmen.
He agrees with Morkel that Ngidi can generate enough speed to reach the 144 km/h-mark, while he reckons Hawken could be in the high 140 km/h-bracket.
“What I also enjoy is that Ngidi has been able to make a seamless transition to international cricket, taking 2-12 and 4-19 in his first two T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka. Other bowlers might have felt the pressure, but he saw his call-up as an opportunity to express his skills,” says Mashimbyi.
Morris has been a revelation the past two seasons, and arguably the pinnacle of those performances was his 3-30 against the Warriors in a Momentum One Day Cup clash when he swung it both ways, generating speeds of 146 km/h and introduced the very odd bouncer to help the batsmen smell the leather.
The new squad possesses the fire-power to play chin music, generate a new pulse rate and create anxiety in the opposition ranks. Will they be able to handle it?