Indian Death Bowling Paralysis

Reeling under tremendous pressure after consecutive drubbings in South Africa and New Zealand, MS Dhoni finds his team landing nowhere in the quest to retain the World Cup in 2015. You never know, what lady fortune can usher on you. That’s what Dhoni’s men must have realised. Not too long ago, they were crushing the enemies back home. Now, they are struggling to find cover in alien soils. Life, indeed has come to a full circle for the men in blue!!

That can well be a romantic’s delight. Nevertheless, realistically speaking, with just one year to go before the all- important showdown downunder, MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher have their task cutout. They’ve tried all sorts of permutations and combinations only to leave the mix in a whole lot of jeopardy and bamboozlement. Yes, the Indian side has been thoroughly exposed. The failure in South Africa was understandable. But, the repeat of the same in Kiwi land has come as a shocker.

On Indian highways, the power-packed batting lineup kept chasing down anything and everything the oppositions put on the board, hence shielding their weak bowling department. However, it was then. But, the present has only got worse. One can only hope and pray for a future that isn’t the worst. With just an year to go for the prime ICC event, India still can’t figure out which of the current seamers will sustain till then. The wait for death bowling specialists to arrive seems to be eternal. Not to say that new ball bowling has been fantastic either.

Joe Dawes is the bowling coach. Does he exist at all? It doesn’t seem so given the bowling hasn’t improved the least bit under him. Indian attack, over the year gone by, were the most expensive in the world while taking the combined average economy rates into account. And India were No.1 in the world for all this long. Come on, there must be something terribly wrong with the points system.

You can’t blame the Indian bats for hopping, ducking, lofting and doing all sorts of strange things, which only they can, when faced with the short ball. They don’t get enough practice of chin music in the nets. Short ball for Indian ‘speedsters’ refers to gentle, waist – height deliveries. The short – arm jab was the be-all and end-all for the bats. How can you expect the Indian batters to unleash the pull and the hook against real life fiery pacers in match situation!!!

It’s high time India finds accurate wicket-taking bowlers. In a country with 1.2 billion people, you can’t complain about the lack of talent – and there visibly isn’t, anyways. Grooming the talent in domestic circuit into potential world class match-winners is what the bowling coach is supposed to be doing, which Joe hasn’t. He has been given way too long a rope. Time has come for him to receive a boot.

Solution :-

First and foremost, the selection committee needs to identify the players fit for the job. Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have shown that they can pitch it in the block hole. Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav have the simmering pace – so, they can be considered too. All rounders – Stuart Binny and Rajat Bhatia, along with Vinay Kumar possess good variety and the requisite skill set.

Once having identified the lot, they must be trained under the expert guidance of a somebody like Javagal Srinath or a Kapil Dev for a period is six months or so. Post such training only should they be re-exposd to the rigours of international cricket.

This is a short term solution with the World Cup 2015 in mind, to what has been a chronic problem. When Dhoni stresses on the fact that bowlers must use their brains, he clearly points out the lack of application and initiative in the bowling. On placid Indian wickets, it was comprehensible but on juicy and spongy tracks, it becomes intolerable. It was quite apparent on the outside that there is lack of experience which could be categorised into :-

1. Lack of experience bowling on bouncy tracks

2. Lack of experience bowling with a kookaburra ball since an SG ball is used in India

So, more of exposure becomes imperative here. But, more importantly, not encoring the same errors is the key. We have to be patient. Agree. But, can’t afford bowlers who don’t ‘use their brains’.

Coming back to my earlier point regarding the ball. A Kookaburra white’s seam is wider and lower than what the Indian seamers are used to with the high seam of SG ball. The Kookaburra stops seaming off the deck much earlier than an SG one does as it’s seam dies down flat. Hence, use of the back becomes important, which the Indians infamously lag behind in.

Probably, drafting the seasoned campaigner Zaheer Khan may be the spark the bowling attack needs at the moment. Not only will he bring expetience into play, but also will lessen the relieve the Indian skipper from the burden of guiding young pacemen.

The death bowling paralysis needs to be addressed without much delay else we may perhaps be staring at a first round exit in the World Cup. You can’t expect the batsmen to pile up runs in hostile conditions countering top quality bowlers. A revamp is necessary, and in quick time so.

-Tej Manohar. V [Tej Manohar is a Cricket Analyst with Sportz Cosmos. He tweets here]

2 thoughts on “Indian Death Bowling Paralysis

  1. Dude looks like Ishant needs a serious reality check. His base price being set very high in IPL again, does he even care I wonder. Good points on the SG ball and the Kookaburra ball.

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