Take the case of Munaf Patel, who has just been dropped from the Indian ODI team. When he came on to the scene a few years ago, he was touted as the fastest bowler in the country. And he really was sharp - even after making it to the Indian team and playing a few Tests. I saw him rip out a couple of England wickets in a Test at the Wankhede, beating the batsmen with sheer pace.
What's happened since? Is it the coaches, who insist on line-and-length, and "hitting the right areas" all the time? Especially in the limited overs games, he's down to barely medium-fast pace -- in the 120s kph, occasionally in the 130s, when earlier he used to touch 140-odd/90mph.
Munaf is hardly the only example. If you go back in time, we've had bowlers like Raju Kulkarni and Abey Kuruvilla who were both touted as among the fastest in the country. Again, I've seen them live in action and I can attest to their pace. Years of toil on the Ranji circuit reduced them to medium-fast by the time they made it to the Indian team. So at least we can't blame the India coach / manager in those cases -- Ranji-level coaches, perhaps? Or just the sheer futility of attempting to bowl fast on dead pitches?
And what about Ishant Sharma? Is he going the same route? It may be wrong to judge him on the basis of recent performances in the (very) limited overs game, but he certainly seems to have stepped down his pace a few notches. Why can't they let him go flat out for four overs in a T20? The way a Fidel Edwards or a Dale Steyn do? It's not as if he was economical in his reduced version. He certainly was ineffective as a wicket-taker...
During the IPL, we saw a new, raw fast bowling talent on display -- Kamran Khan of the Rajasthan Royals. Eighteen-year-old kid, exerting every sinew and generating very good pace -- 90mph certainly. With a bit more muscle mass, he could go even faster. Of course he got into trouble with his action - but for once, I think it's probably clean. He seems to have the sort of hyperextension at the elbow that Shoaib Akhtar does. If you look closely, his arm is really bent backwards at the elbow -- almost painful to watch! Certainly not a blatant chuck like a Siddharth Trivedi for example.
Someone like Kamran really ought to be unleashed on unsuspecting opponents at the earliest possible opportunity. And not just in Tests, but also in ODIs and T20s, trying to blast out a couple of batsmen in the opening spell rather than keep the scoring down. Best not to make him slog through the Ranji circuit, sacrificing pace for accuracy, etc. These days Indian teams in all versions of the game tend to have three pace bowlers -- surely we can afford to pick one Kamran, one Zaheer (the seasoned pro leading the attack) and then a Munaf type if necessary to hold up one end?