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Bowlers have Dawes in a spot

Bowling coach, Joe Dawes, has rarely made news ever since he took charge of the India bowling attack in February 2012. This is unlike his predecessor, Eric Simons, who, thanks to his stint as Delhi Daredevils' coach, often found news space.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2013 18:11 IST
Khurram Habib
Joe Dawes

Bowling coach, Joe Dawes, has rarely made news ever since he took charge of the India bowling attack in February 2012. This is unlike his predecessor, Eric Simons, who, thanks to his stint as Delhi Daredevils' coach, often found news space.

With India mostly doing well over the past year-and-half, Dawes has been a silent passenger with the team, the credit going everywhere but to him. The bowlers, it now seems, were on auto mode on tracks they were familiar with.

Dawes's real test was always going to be the current tour to South Africa. With conditions and tracks expected to be more like Australia, his home country, he was to guide the young India bowlers, whose growing failures now threaten to bring him into the limelight, albeit in a negative manner.

Matter of habit
Former South Africa paceman, Fanie de Villiers, who maintained immaculate line and length on almost all tracks through his short but fruitful career, and formed a lethal combination with Allan Donald, explained the dilemma.

"It is the old length one's worried the guys bowl when they visit South Africa. It can be a problem in Test matches," he said, hinting at the short length the Indians have been bowling.

While Dhoni praised the bowling effort in Sunday's Durban game, it looked like he was considering which of the two displays was less embarrassing.

The spinners put up a good show, but then this Durban wicket was dry and sub-continent like. The SuperSport Park Centurion will have bounce just like the Wanderers and once more the bowlers, apart from the batsmen, will be tested. If de Villiers is to be believed, India bowlers are falling short everywhere.

"In both games, you guys didn't take wickets with the new ball, in both games there was not a lot of movement in the air, in both games there was no supreme pace. That's what gets you wickets. Otherwise, you tend to depend a lot on spinners. Look, we are not even selecting spinners for this series."

He may be hinting at horses for courses but the India think-tank seems to be confused even on that front. Dale Steyn spoke about Ishant Sharma while AB de Villers had mentioned Umesh Yadav ahead of the second ODI and the think-tank immediately included them. Ishant can extract bounce and Umesh pace.

The Durban track had neither and India were again faced with a massive opening stand. It wasn't that the openers were rock solid but somehow India failed to apply pressure.

"The reality is that if you don't take wickets with the new ball, you are always in trouble," says de Villiers, adding, "There is a difference between someone who just runs in and bowls quick and someone who has the variation and finesse, that's where Steyn and Philander know what to do to buy wickets."

While Dawes may be struggling to nail ideas into the players, a session with one of the former Proteas' bowlers may not hurt the Indians. Otherwise, like Simons, who had to bid adieu after the thrashing in England and Australia, Dawes may have to pack his bags.