South Africa's Fantastic 5: Why Indian bowlers need to be spot on at MCG

  • Nilkankur Das, Hindustan Times, Melbourne
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2015 13:22 IST

There are many ways to define risk and the perspective changes depending on your position of vision. It is interesting how AB de Villiers sees risk. Like a corporate he calls it initiative. “You have to take the initiative and get on top of the bowlers,” he says and no one really knows how that ‘initiative’ would look like. It could be a reverse paddled sweep, a simple reverse sweep from half-way down the wicket, a sweep from way beyond the off stump or an inside-out shot against the turn over extra-cover.

The bowler and rival skipper will think De Villiers is giving the charge and so there is a possibility of getting him out. The problem is the South Africa skipper can play all these unorthodox shots all day and not make a mistake, for what is incredibly outrageous to lesser mortals is a walk in the park for one of the most devastating limited-overs batsmen in the world. CLASSY SHOW On the other side is a quintessential professor-like Hashim Amla. Batting to him is copybook, at times it looks like he is solving a quadratic equation in his sleep where the flight, turn, speed and bounce of the ball are the unknowns and he is getting it right, every time.

These two and three more in Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller, the last two scoring centuries against Zimbabwe in their opening match after the top four fell cheaply, make the South African batting line-up a formidable proposition. The saving grace is the size of the MCG and India’s two spinners backed by a fleet of safe hands and young legs to run around in the field. For the time being, this looks like India’s ploy to counter the threat.

“I think, the mindset should be to take wickets and Ashwin had that in the first game. (Ravindra) Jadeja is always an attacking bowler and if he gets a bit of assistance, he becomes even more dangerous. If you see, they were our two main bowlers in the Champions Trophy in England and no one expected our spinners will become our main bowlers. They proved everyone wrong. Even if you see here in Australia, you have long boundaries, square boundaries… If you bowl intelligently you will be rewarded,” Virat said.

“They have been our main bowlers for some years now. I think their bowling partnership is very important for us.”

“Ashwin’s at his best when he wants to take wickets, and he was really aggressive in the last game.

Those maidens were game changers. He got only one wicket, but the way he bowled was absolutely outstanding, especially when you take into consideration you have five fielders in the ring. He will be a key factor for us as long as he can be in that same mindset that he was against Pakistan,” Virat said.

Just a reminder: Ashwin had perhaps bowled the ball of his life to get rid of Amla in the World T20 in Bangladesh. Bowling round the wicket to the right-hander, Ashwin pitched the ball on the rough outside leg-stump. Amla closed the face of his bat to turn the ball towards fine-leg but the ball beat the outside edge and took the top of off-stump. India need more of such brilliance on Sunday.

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