We didn’t even recognise Praveen Kumar when we switched on the first Test between the West Indies and India. His is a familiar face, but we’d never seen him in white clothes before.
It had also never really occurred to us just how slowly he bowls. While Ishant Sharma’s pace is right back up there (he’ll do well in England next month), Kumar’s effort ball just shades past 80mph.
It’s club cricket pace and this is no bad thing. Fast bowlers are few and far between, but 85mph bowlers are ten-a-penny. Kumar stands out from the crowd.
He charges in with deceptive effort, bowls a nice bit of away-swing and then runs all over the danger area to try and distract the batsman. Viewed from the side, his action looks pleasingly hideous. We think it’s because he doesn’t really bother with his front arm, but whatever it is, it’s another attribute in our eyes.
Test cricket’s about diversity, so we hope there’s room for frontline medium-pace trundlers. We don’t know whether there is, but the Praveen Kumar experiment is likely to provide us with the answer.