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India vs West Indies ODI: India's pace troubles

Ahead of the ODI series against the West Indies, the Indian team needs to get its bowling line-up in order. Special attention has to be paid to death overs - something that have plagued them in the series against Australia.

cricket Updated: Nov 20, 2013 23:59 IST
Sai Mohan

India bowling coach Joe Dawes followed as the seamers - Jaidev Unadkat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Mohit Sharma and Mohammad Shami - walked out of the change room on the eve of Thursday's series-opener against West Indies here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Dawes got them to sit down in a circle and begin stretching while getting in their ears, speaking for 30-odd minutes. Then, after a game of football, all five bowled for more than an hour. It was a tough day, more so due to the humidity.

Dawes knows what flood-lit ODIs in India have evolved into: they sound the death knell for the pacers. The pitch is irrelevant; there are powerplays, slippery balls, harder balls, fast outfields and short boundaries to worry about.

Dawes, an Australian, watched helplessly as 3596 runs were plundered in 11 innings over six India-Australia ODIs. India won the series-clincher but went back to the drawing board in the wake of staggering series numbers: overs 47 to 50 saw them leak 13 runs per over; over No 48 was most expensive at 15.

Finishing touches
India skipper MS Dhoni revealed 'Project Death Bowling'. "What we have done since the Australia ODIs is we're making sure bowlers do a lot of death bowling pra-ctice. They need to work on variations, do a lot of yorker bowling. It may take some time, but I am hoping that we improve."

Dhoni rarely sweats over any aspect of captaincy. But he too was left looking powerless when James Faulkner decimated Vinay Kumar (9-0-102-1) in the final ODI in Bangalore.

Dhoni still backed Vinay, who is part of the squad, to come good. "As of now, we have five seamers in this squad, but need to put together a pool of fast bowlers.

Most of them (especially Vinay) have done well in domestic cricket. We need to give each of them few more games and see who can handle the pressure (of death bowling). It is a slow process but we need to get a fair idea of what needs to be done."

Pacers exposed
Besides Bhuvneshwar with the new ball and Shami reversing it with the old, India's seamers suffered against Australia. Their lengths were too short, even slower bouncers - an effective option in T20s - were dealt with severely.

Only Shami came close to developing an effective yorker. When asked if Shami was the answer to his troubles, Dhoni said: "He (Shami) has done really well. But they (bowlers) need to work hard at it (yorkers)."

When asked about Suresh Raina's poor run of scores, Dhoni retracted earlier comments that the left-hander was pencilled in as India's No 4 batsman for the 2015 World Cup.

"We don't want to give a permanent slot to anyone. A lot depends on the number of overs left in the game. Anyone can bat at 3 or 4 depending on a situation. So we've to remain flexible."

India batsmen have quickly switched to ODI mode, playing some booming strokes in the nets on Wednesday. Shikhar Dhawan gave the charge to Amit Mishra and played some big shots. Only Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the Tests due to shoulder strain, didn't come for training. Even reserve Ambati Rayudu got a hit.