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New ball whining

cricket Updated: Mar 11, 2011 01:35 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Hidden behind India's two 330-plus scores and the nervy chases against Ireland and the Netherlands, there is something else their to-be opponents must have taken note of. And that is MS Dhoni's bowlers have not made hay when the ball had shine.

They are yet to cause significant damage with the new ball, which might turn out to be crucial in the bigger games, starting with Saturday’s clash against South Africa.

Most of the talk about India of late has centered around how the batsmen failed to dominate the inexperienced Irish and Dutch attacks.

But these are seasoned batsmen — experts in these conditions — who are likely to come good any day. The same can’t be said about the bowlers, and given the way they have done so far, a steep chase for the batsmen appears imminent.

Dhoni himself is worried. “In Indian conditions, it’s essential to take early wickets. In such conditions, this is one of the very few ways of stopping the opposition from posting a big total. Not that we don’t have good bowlers. Just that the wickets are not coming.

We’re trying out a few things too. But yes, this is an area of concern,” the India skipper said after Wednesday’s match in New Delhi.

Dhoni is indeed looking constantly for options. In four matches, he has used six different bowlers in the first 10 overs and also deployed spin from both ends in that period. Due partly to the flat nature of pitches and partly due to the inability of his bowlers, the wickets have not come as expected.

India just managed one wicket each against Bangladesh and England inside 10 overs, and in both cases, the batsmen were chasing big totals and taking chances from early on.

Only against Ireland did Zaheer Khan induce mistakes from the batsmen and take two early wickets.

Even against the unfancied Netherlands, the Indian bowlers had to wait till the 16th over for their first breakthrough. In this case, it was provided by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.

If the lack of success with the new ball is one concern, the way it has been used is another. Except against Ireland, Zaheer failed to get enough movement to trouble the batsmen and Munaf Patel has hardly done anything either.

The spinners have so far done a satisfactory job of containing the opponent batsmen, without turning the ball against the smaller teams.

But what remains to be seen is how this bowling attack fare against a line-up of more experienced batsmen.