Former captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly reckons the fast bowling culture in India has undergone a sea change and as a result the current attack is regarded as one of the best in the world. The likes of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav form a potent pace attack capable of taking wickets on any surface. Also Read - NCA Injury Surveillance Report: Most Players Suffered From Shoulder And Knee Problems in 2019-20

When asked who or what has contributed to this rise, Ganguly pointed out standard of fitness. Also Read - IPL 2020: BCCI President Sourav Ganguly on Suspension of IPL Title Sponsorship Deal With Vivo, Calls it Minor Blip And Not Financial Crisis

“I see all of them together, the coaches, the fitness trainers and also I think the change in culture,” Ganguly said replying to a question during a chat show hosted by Test opener Mayank Agarwal on BCCI’s Twitter handle. Also Read - Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni on Same Page as Leaders: Former India Cricketer Maninder Singh Picks Sourav Ganguly as Best India Skipper

“Culture has changed in India that we can be good fast bowlers. The fitness regimes, the fitness standards not only among the fast bowlers but also among the batters, I think that has changed enormously. And that has made everyone understand and believe that if we are fit, if we are strong, and we can also bowl fast, like the others,” he added.

The Indian pace attack has drawn praises from everywhere. Recently, former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop claimed India are at the forefront of the renaissance of fast bowling.

“The West Indies in my generation were natural or even the generation before… They were naturally strong and built. We Indians were never such naturally strong and built but we worked hard to get strong. So I think it’s the change in culture also which is very important,” Ganguly said.

Gangyly also joked how batting legend Sachin Tendulkar would ask him to always take the first strike.

“Always he (Tendulkar) did and he had an answer to that,” Ganguly quipped.  “I used to tell him ‘Sometimes you also face the first ball. I’m always facing the first ball. He had two answers to it. One, he believed that if his form was good it should continue and he should remain at the non-striker’s end. And then when his form wasn’t good, he said ‘I should remain at the non-striker’s end because it takes the pressure off him.”

Ganguly-Tendulkar is the most successful  opening combo in the history of ODIs putting together 6609 runs in 136 innings including 21 century and 23 fifty partnerships.

Tendulkar, Ganguly said, always had two answers to avoid facing the first delivery.

However, there were occasions when the Tendulkar was tricked into facing the first ball of the match.

“So he had an answer for both good form and bad form, until and unless someday you walked past him and went and stood at the non-striker’s end and he was already on TV and he would be forced to face the ball. And that has happened one or two times, I just walked past him and went and stood at the non striker’s end,” Ganguly said.