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Bowling effectively in middle overs the key

India's continued winning run is good for the whole unit and if there is one thing the think tank must be working on, it is how to bowl in the middle overs, writes Anil Kumble.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2008 02:01 IST

Bangladesh put up a strong showing against India and did well to get to 283, but in good batting conditions India showed that they had the firepower to easily overhaul the target.

Gautam Gambhir was the man who did the early hard work, buckling down and ensuring that India scored at a healthy pace even after Robin Uthappa was dismissed early. It's always important to cash in when you're in good form and Gambhir is doing just that.

Suresh Raina is another player who has taken the opportunity up the order in a reassuring manner. We all knew he had the talent but for him to perform consistently in a variety of situations can only be good for Indian cricket. The game also provided an ideal opportunity to Manpreet Gony and Pragyan Ojha.

Despite the fact that Gony went for runs, I thought they performed creditably. Both players are getting a feel of international cricket and it is important they take as much as they can from the experience before the bigger tests ahead.

India's continued winning run is good for the whole unit and if there is one thing the think tank must be working on, it is how to bowl in the middle overs. Leading up to the bigger matches, the team will want to identify how to bowl in these overs.

Irfan Pathan was a key bowler in this phase and even when he sometimes went for runs he picked up wickets. If you don't take wickets and allow the opposition to build partnerships you're going to be up against big scores.

The advantage India have is that they are playing all their matches in Karachi and by now will have a firm grip on the conditions they can expect.

By giving all the young bowlers a chance they will also be closer to identifying what the right bowling combination is. The key to future matches, against Sri Lanka and then in the final against whoever makes it, will be bowling effectively on flat pitches.

The key to bowling on flat pitches is to stick to the basics. You have to bowl wicket-to-wicket and vary your pace.

It's neither about experimenting too much nor thinking too far ahead but to ensure that the variations deployed are in the wicket-to-wicket line so that you hit if the batsman misses.

The Indian team will have to identify a bowler they think is most likely to succeed in the middle overs and then stick with him. In a way they may have to gamble a bit, staying with a particular bowler even if he's going for runs if they believe he can get a crucial breakthrough.

The new ball does a bit and it's crucial to get wickets up front, but after that initial phase batsmen are likely to have their say. In conditions like this, it sometimes boils down to one team faltering, and thereby failing to put up a really big score.

So far India's batting has held its nerve admirably, and it's not surprising that the results are going in their favour.