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  Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Srinath: India's warhorse
Javagal Srinath
Srinath will continue to play one-day cricket

The retirement of Javagal Srinath from the Test cricket will again leave a big hole in the Indian bowling line-up with no truly experienced pacemen in the side.

With plenty of talented batsmen awaiting the selectors' call, India has been facing a shortage of good fast bowlers for quite some time.

After the retirement of Kapil Dev in 1994, the Indians were not sure who would spearhead their bowling with the new ball.

But Srinath took the responsibility with both hands and rarely disappointed fans of the game in cricket-crazy India.

Be it making the initial breakthrough with the new ball, breaking up a vital partnership in the middle order or cleaning up the tail, Srinath was a dependable performer all along.

The 32-year old's debut in 1991 at Brisbane was decent enough as the young paceman, performing against Alan Border's strong Australian side, ended up with three wickets.

Javagal Srinath
His venom often caught batsmen by surprise

Bowling with a smooth action, the Mysore-born seamer has been able to extract pace and bounce from even docile wickets.

Overuse

Lack of continuous support from the other end meant every Indian captain had to rely heavily on the trusted capabilities of Srinath, especially in times of crisis.

And this led to an overdose of cricket for Srinath. He was excessively used in his side's matches - sometimes in conditions which offered him zero assistance.

In 1997, a major shoulder injury forced a break from the game. After that, there was surgery, which at least saved his career.

But the resilient medium pacer then made a remarkable comeback and produced some of the finest performances of his career.

He touched the height of his career in the 1999 Asian Test Championship played in India when he produced his career-best figures - interestingly against the arch-rivals Pakistan.

  Srinath's career
DOB: 31.8.1969, Mysore
Test debut: 1991, Brisbane, against Australia
Tests: 64
Wkts: 232
Ave: 30.46
ODI debut: 1991, Sharjah, against Pakistan
ODIs: 204
Wkts: 276
Ave: 28.78

In the first match of the championship at Calcutta's Eden Garden, Srinath bagged 13 wickets - 5-46 and 8-86 - although this remarkable show couldn't prevent Pakistan from winning the match by 46 runs.

In the later years of his career, he added yorkers and slower deliveries in the wide armoury of deliveries he used to send batsmen back to the pavilion.

Srinath was no match-winner in the vein of a Muralitharan or Shane Warne nor did he have the fearsome speed of Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar, but he surely had the capacity to give an early breakthrough to his side most of the time.

On his retirement, Srinath has at least one consolation that he is leaving behind in the Indian team at least two quality medium pacers - Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.

The two newcomers will, however, definitely miss the experience and guidance his presence could have offered to them.

BBC Sport Online's special section covering the Test series in the Caribbean

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01 Jun 02 | West Indies v India
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