Eric Simons has spent his life honing the skills of a variety of fast bowlers. As a coach, he has tracked and analysed the changing facets of fast bowling in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to conclude that the trade is returning to its basics in the shortest format of the game.

In an exclusive interaction with The Hindu here on Friday, Simons described how fast bowling had completed a full circle in T20 cricket.

“It has changed in phases. I think originally a lot of fast bowling conversations were around pace and bowling different lengths.

“It went to lots of variations and strategies around batsmen in different situations and how they play.

“I think it has gone so much back again to be a little more simple. The guys are realising that a good Test line or length is good in any form of the game.

“You don’t often find guys bowling six different balls in an over.

“It happened two or three years ago. They are getting back more to the basics of bowling.”

Simons, who has been a key part of Delhi Daredevils over the years, is assisting head coach Gary Kirsten this year and hopes that DD’s bowling unit, which is yet to realise its potential, will prove its worth in forthcoming matches.

Judging bowling performances

“I always judge a bowling performance on three levels — what is your plan, the execution and then the outcome. You can plan to bowl a perfect yorker, then bowl a perfect yorker and an inside edge can go to be a four. You can’t just look at what the outcome is.

“We believe we have got better plans now, we are executing a little better and we are keeping simple game plans. As the tournament goes on, we will be better and better.”

Simons, who worked with Kirsten as a bowling consultant of the Indian team a few years ago, showed a lot of faith in Mohammad Shami and Jaydev Unadkat.

The 52-year-old South African said Shami could be a very useful bowler for DD in various stages of a match.

“It is the execution of the things — getting back to his ability to swing the ball, which is his natural talent, and to execute with confidence the yorkers or the slow bouncers in the final phase. If plans and executions are right, then you win 80 per cent of the battle.”

Learning from experience

Unadkat, according to Simons, had learnt from his experience. “He has become intelligent as a bowler and has grown in his decision making. He has got some great slower balls. He has always been a thinking bowler. He has grown in confidence.”

Simons relished his long relationship with Daredevils and hoped that under the leadership of Kirsten DD would turn into a formidable side.

“It is about finding ourselves as a unit. A team like Chennai has its continuity where they have five players for most of the seven tournaments. That’s important.

“That’s where Delhi wants to get to — build up a core of players to carry the essence of what we are as a team. It is great to be with Gary again...We want to empower the players so that they make their decisions,” said Simons.

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