Hamilton: India's pace spearhead Mohammed Shami today received the biggest compliment in his two-year international career as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time Sir Richard Hadlee termed the young seamer's efforts in the ICC Cricket World Cup "particularly impressive".
New Zealand's greatest cricketing icon said that the Indian bowling unit's turnaround after their disastrous Test and tri-series show has been very impressive.
"I am more impressed with the Indian pace attack now than a couple of months ago. In Australia (referring to Test series), I thought the attack really struggled with their line and length. They were too inconsistent. They've sorted that out now. Shami, in particular, has been impressive.
"The bowling has been the weaker suit, but they've sorted that out. That is going to make them very competitive in this tournament," Hadlee said during a media interaction for a World Cup promotional event at the Hobiton Movie Set here.
Like a true-blue Black Caps supporter, Hadlee's vote for the best fast bowling unit went to his countrymen Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Daniel Vettori.
"The four best attacks are New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and India. Our attack has proved they are the best in the world at the moment. Southee and Boult have taken 13 wickets each while Vettori has 12. We've bowled sides out which proves we are doing well.
"There are some other good bowling attacks. Australia, for one, with Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson is a good attack. Steyn is getting better for South Africa with a good back up in Morkel. But South Africa will struggle in absence of a quality fifth bowler during knock-out stages."
For someone who could bowl both inswing and outswing with same action, it was only natural that Hadlee would point out about the subtle changes in trend that has happened in fast bowling over the years. Hadlee wants to see the old-fashioned inswinging yorkers come back in the picture.
"We're not seeing many yorkers bowled by the strike bowlers. What they do is have a lot of change-ups. In my time, I had two slower balls.
Today fast bowlers have four varieties of slower balls. Sometimes they're bowling wide and keeping it full, so the batsmen can score only in one direction. So their attacking plan is very different from when I played.
"But I still believe that if you get the good old fashioned toe-crusher (yorker) in, on middle and leg, even if the batsman is backing away, he can only hit straight.
With bigger bats and shorter boundaries, you're getting more runs, and 120-150 in the last 10 overs is far too many. It's the difference between winning and losing," said the 63-year-old Hadlee who has 431 Tests and 158 ODI wickets.