World Cup

Indian batsmen expect short-pitched threat

The Indian team trains in earnest ahead of the semifinal against Australia.   | Photo Credit: Rick Rycroft

India’s batsmen expect a bombardment of short-pitched deliveries from Australia and perhaps they’re not mistaken there.

In the nets behind the stately members’ stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday, they trained in anticipation of the fusillade of bouncers Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood (to a lesser extent) are likely to bowl in the semifinals on Thursday.

Suresh Raina, who carries a reputation — whether rightly or wrongly — for weakness against the short delivery, spent a long time in the nets facing a tennis ball. R. Sathish, the fielding coach, Duncan Fletcher, and eventually M.S. Dhoni fired tennis balls at him off a racquet from a distance of about 18 yards.

Raina ducked, weaved, and occasionally pulled with ferocity. He was not the only one, as the other top-order batsmen too followed suit.

James Faulkner was later told of India’s training methods and asked if Australia had planned to attack India with the bouncer. “Naturally, in one-day cricket, short-pitch bowling is used. I don’t think it’s going to be any different, be it India, Pakistan or any other opposition. They can train how they want to train; that is up to them,” he said.

Should the pitch offer speed and lift to the bowlers, though, it is not India’s batsmen alone that could struggle. Wahab Riaz caused Shane Watson great misery in Adelaide. With Umesh Yadav capable of reaching similar speeds and Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma too hassling opponents with their bouncers, India will not be losing sleep. No batsman, as Dhoni has said multiple times, enjoys playing a rapidly-approaching bouncer.

“A lot depends on the wicket,” Faulkner said. “If there is bounce and carry, it depends on who you are coming up against. If you see a weakness you can try and expose. We haven’t spoken about the Indian team yet, it is only Monday. We will have our group discussion later in the week.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 5:30:15 AM |

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