We all wanted to be Dennis Lillee: Kasprowicz on Australia’s pace legacy

Michael Kasprowicz travelled to India for three Test campaigns, the last of which, in 2004, ended in glory for the Australian team as the Final Frontier was eventually conquered.

Kasprowicz, 47, took 113 wickets in 38 Tests for Australia and is currently serving as a director on the Cricket Australia (CA) board. Kasprowicz had been a CA director since August 2011 when he took the place vacated by his former state and national team-mate Matthew Hayden. In 2016, he briefly stepped down from his post to take charge as Queensland Cricket’s interim chief executive.

Sportstar caught up with him to discuss fast bowling, Australian cricket and more.

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How has Australian cricket come to be synonymous with competitiveness and excellence?

Firstly, thank you for the compliment. I believe it comes down to the incredible exposure and engagement of our sport in our country. This installs natural competitiveness in Australians with a very healthy respect for the rules. Ultimately it is about winning with respect.

How would you describe the Australian teams that you were a part of?

With the 10 years that I was in Australian cricket teams, I was exposed to an extraordinary period with some extraordinary people. There was a special collection of some of the greatest players that have played the game. So my timing was perfect in that I got to live my dream and play for my country while becoming close mates with a few of my heroes.

Moving over to fast bowling, how exactly did Australia come to be besotted with out-and-out fast bowlers?

We all wanted to be Dennis Lillee. Along with many other kids, everyone wanted to bowl fast and we grew up in an era where there was plenty of inspiration. It is the exposure and access to the resources of facilities and the space that cricket and sport in Australia provides. Maybe it is a combination of climate and conditions but specifically bowling fast comes from a natural ability to bowl quick. There are a number of Test teams now that possess fast bowlers that all bowl in the 140km/hr plus range so I think that this inspires the future.

Kasprowicz hails Dennis Lillee as a big influence on Aussie bowlers. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

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What are your thoughts on the current Indian pace attack?

Fast bowling is an art form. While the professional game today has afforded the players the time and resources to produce faster, fitter and stronger athletes it is the delicate combination of the physical, mental and bowling skills that determine the best.

As a result of the professional era and in combination with the foresight and the involvement of the MRF Pace Foundation, India now has a very impressive group of quick bowlers.

How crucial a role has Cricket Australia’s think tank played in ensuring this pace boom is sustained over a longer period?

Around 15 years ago Cricket Australia developed the concept of bowling workloads and management of the players. This has been implemented in all ages with perceived varying level of success over this time. With the success of the current crop of Australian fast bowlers, it appears that it is working very well now.

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