Champions Trophy 2017: Australia's fast bowling dream becomes wake-up call against New Zealand - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

True fast bowling, more than any other subject, is what most markedly makes cricket people lose our collective minds.

Fast bowling is intoxicating. It embodies power and danger and thrill, black thunderheads advancing from the horizon, a metallic aftertaste that could as readily be blood or lightning or adrenaline.

When fast bowling comes along, we lose the ability for rational thought. As soon as someone clicks towards that mark of 150 kilometres per hour, we want them in. Pick them. Play them. Bowl their full 10 overs on the trot.

Handed a hurricane in a matchbox, how can we think of anything but when to let it out?

Never mind that there are batsmen who can play the stuff. Never mind that without precision, velocity is the friend of the player looking to score rather than the one preventing it. We remember the times that pace worked and erase those it did not.

Because when it worked, it was complete elemental seduction.

There are parallels in any sport: perceptions based on feeling rather than fact. We let ideas dictate a personal reality, rather than having reality dictate ideas. A physical attribute, a personality quirk, a couple of memorable moments, and certain players or types of player are doomed to be viewed a certain way forever.

I was caught up like so many others in the suggestion Australia might field a true pace quartet at the Champions Trophy in England. Firstly, after years of frustration, two bowlers who had apparently become unicorns now solidified back into thoroughbreds.

Patrick Cummins: youthful, fierce, straight pace with a bouncer that bounds from the pitch, and a bag of change-ups matching any short-form pro.

James Pattinson: savage right-arm outswing, hot temper, teeth bared and face red.

They had negotiated a maze of muscle tears, stress fractures, busted feet and ribs and backs, and were finally both in an Australian squad.

Alongside Mitchell Starc - left-arm deadly, the smoothest swing with the game's best yorker - and Josh Hazlewood - relentless, bashing the pitch from a high release to pin batsmen in place.

Except when the time came to take on New Zealand in the first match for both teams, the pace dream dissolved as quickly as any morning phantasm. Pattinson missed out for John Hastings, a workmanlike seamer who had not featured in anyone's giddy anticipation.

Source:

www.abc.net.au