MUMBAI: Former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar today hailed the trend of bowlers emerging as game-changers for India but stressed that the country needs a bowling superstar to inspire young generation.
"In India, we are a little more obsessed with batting. That is not the case with Pakistan, for example. When you look at Pakistan, superstars are mostly bowlers, starting with Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis. So their bowling heroes are revered more," the 52-year-old right-handed batsman said.
"India has somehow produced greatness in sport through batsmanship and not so much from bowling. It is up to the fans to start making heroes out of bowlers and I think that is starting to happen now.
"We have game-changers like (Jasprit) Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who are winning Man-of-the-Match or Man-of-the-Series awards. That’s a nice trend, a different trend, but at the end of the day, it’s the fans who have to embrace who their hero is. They like batsmen more," he added.
Manjrekar, who has faced many top-quality international bowlers, said that the country needs a bowling superstar.
"All India needs is one bowling superstar and it will have amazing (impact) effect on younger kids. You have best academies and infrastructure in the world, but youngsters get inspired by bowling and batting heroes. Cricket inspires young cricketers," added Manjrekar.
He also praised young spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and the overall confidence which the current bowlers have.
"What strikes me about (Yuzvendra) Chahal’s bowling, I have never seen a bowler in a T20 on a flat pitch, have the courage to ball in the zone where the batsman will usually hit it for a six, but he does that and he backs himself. It’s amazing that the new generation, the kind of confidence that they have," added Manjrekar.
The former Mumbai stalwart was speaking at the launch of a book -- ‘Spell-binding Spells" penned by Anindya Dutta -- in presence of former India batsman Lalchand Rajput and Padmakar Shivalakar, arguably the best bowler of his time who did not play for India.
Meanwhile, Rajput, a domestic bulwark, said the role of bowlers was crucial as they have the job to take 20 wickets.
"As Sanjay said earlier, in India, it is the batsmen who get predominantly known. Like Sanjay I too looked upto Sunil Gavaskar and wanted to be like him. I always believe bowlers win you matches, you have got to take 20 wickets and that is the bowlers' job," said Lalchand, a former Mumbai opening batsman.