Ranadeb Bose lives cricket, quite literally. From being the tearaway quick that he was, the pacer hasn’t lost a bit of coolness of the past with the unique mane that gave him the distinctive look. The aggressive pacer on the field is still so calm off it and talks cricket with a deep-rooted passion.
Very few pacers in the prime used his leap on their stride to have a distinctive delivery action and the height giving them the advantage over many contemporaries. Ranadeb Bose was quick, contrary to what East Zone selector Ranjib Biswal once suggested, but his variation stood out more often than not. A part of India’s 2007 tour of England, Ranadeb may not have donned the jersey as a playing member but cricket has done justice to him in more ways than one. He has almost taken it as a passion project to make Bengal pace-bowling great again and the current crop of fast bowlers are testimony to the same.
Now that the IPL has gone ahead in the UAE, he is keeping a close eye on the pacers and their impact - something he happily shared with SportsCafe in an exclusive conversation. The former Kings XI Punjab pacer, who turned up for the side in one match in Kingsmead in 2009, stated that pacers will do well in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but he feels heatwave will not matter as much in those parts of the world because the IPL normally happens in India during summer. However, he understands the drier climate as compared to India, as the desert around might have its say.
“There is not much of a difference now in terms of UAE and India,” Bose told SportsCafe. “It is hotter but the IPL is being played in summer in April and May. So the temperature definitely reaches 35-40 degrees which is similar to what is Abu Dhabi and Dubai right now. I was just checking a couple of days ago that the temperature was 32-37. It is comparative to Indian summer although it is drier because of the desert around I feel Indian pacers need to do well in two venues - Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” the 41-year-old added.
As the first week of the Indian Premier League comes to a close, there is a clear trend in offer that pacers have had more impact than the spinners. Even a side like Chennai Super Kings, which depend on their spinners more than the pacers on a normal day, are benching an in-form Imran Tahir. But Bose feels that it was a careful attempt by the curators to ensure wickets will hold up for the 60 days.
“The wicket looked greener there and I can totally understand that the curator has done that purposefully. In India, you play seven games at one venue and sometimes, on multiple home venues too. In UAE, your 60 games are distributed across three venues only so to keep the wicket lively they have kept some grass. Because eventually the grass will go off and the wickets would become flat and later on, spinners will get some advantage.
“In the early stage of IPL, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the fast bowlers will have to perform and need to pick early wickets. In Sharjah, I feel, the wickets looked much drier and were flatter throughout. I am seeing it for the last 35 years, nothing has changed. It is still a batting paradise. Maybe spinners will get more advantage there right away.”
Bose worked with the likes of Akash Deep, Mukesh Kumar, Ishan Porel among others, who played an integral part in Bengal’s Ranji campaign, and it is the quest for finding the talent that makes the legend of Bose on the Bengal cricketing circuit. He is looking forward to the young talents in the ongoing IPL but is pretty disappointed with the way Umesh Yadav has bowled thus far.
“You can’t keep Jasprit Bumrah away from a good game. In the CSK game, he was alright, not that great but he did exceedingly well against KKR. Bumrah is on the top of my list on the most exciting Indian bowlers. I want to see what Bhuvneshwar Kumar does. KKR has got some very good talented fast bowlers like Warrier, who has done great for Kerala in domestic cricket, and the young bowlers like Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna. I want to see a couple of them doing well at this level. Great talent from Bengal Ishan Porel is playing for Kings XI Punjab. I have worked with him and know him as a hard-working talented pacer,” he added.
“I am still disappointed with some experienced bowlers like Umesh Yadav. I don’t know what he was thinking, or what he was trying. Maybe he will take a little bit of time to get into the groove, but he didn’t look at the top of his game.”
Mohammed Shami’s emergence in Bengal cricket towards the end of the first decade of the millennium coincided with the dusk in Bose’s career. He then subsequently played the role of a mentor to the bowlers coming through the ranks and Shami has probably taken the biggest leap of them all. As he keeps on performing well for the Indian side and has become the spearhead of the Punjab line-up, Bose is extremely proud of him. Calling him “one of the most talented pace bowlers” he has seen in his life, Bose stated that Shami has come out of the Quarantine as an extremely focused individual.
“Mohammed Shami really looked brilliant though. He never looked like he came out from Quarantine. The way he was bowling, it seemed like he had already played 10 games before the first match. Looked in absolute elements. I just had a Facebook live chat with Mohammed Shami during the lockdown. I was asking him about his game and plan. Then he was training in his farmhouse in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh
“He got a huge cricket ground which he built for himself. He used to have gym sessions everyday. There were some issues in his life from which he came out in a really positive way. He seems more focused and is pushing himself mentally and physically. He is one of the most talented pace bowlers I have seen in my life. He has got a long way to go. He has done exceedingly well for India. There were questions about his quality in T20 cricket but he has answered all of that," Bose concluded.