Monday, 14 April 2008

Sting in the tail

Exasperated must be a gross understatement when you describe a captain, who watches helplessly as his bowlers, after blowing away the rival top order, are thwarted by a gritty lower order.

Traditionally, each and every Indian captain has often gone through this despair. For a change, it was Graeme Smith who wanted to bang his head against a brick wall when the Ishant-Sreesanth duo cobbled together 46 runs for the last wicket in Kanpur.

It once again underlined the importance of the bowlers’ ability to wield the willow to some effect. For an Ishant, just drawing the first blood with the cherry is not enough. He isn’t expected to champion the copybook but you can’t afford to be dud with the bat either.

While pushing the tally, every run scored by a rabbit and ferret does the other important task of draining the opposition of motivation and creating a sense of despair among their bowlers. A streaky 25 scored by a number nine batsman causes more damage and desperation than a brutal fifty by a frontline willower and Smith will vouch for that.

For long, the Indian bowlers, especially the pacers, have not taken their batting seriously. Few really bothered to hone it in the nets. Even the coaches didn’t see them beyond mere leather-flingers and hardly anyone expected them to contribute with their batting mite.

On the contrary, they are brought up in an environment where bowlers, when they swap the ball for bat, are expected to walk out only to clown about and make a hilarious spectacle. Theirs is supposed to the buffoon’s role in the entire act.

Gary Kirsten has an opportunity to bring about a change in the bowlers’ attitude towards batting. Once they are through with bowling practice, he should ask Ishants and Sreesanths to pad up and finetune their batting. They should be told that they have it in them to survive a few overs and make handy contribution with the bat as well. Give them confidence, place some faith and I reckon India would have more sting in its tail.

Image: Getty Images


Straight Point said...

indeed...smith was looking to do exactly the same...

the effect of this partnership was so huge that saffers collectively forgot to put bat on ball... :)

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