He is yet to get a game in IPL II and says he is enjoying the role of “a mentor” in the Delhi Daredevils camp. But the extra work Glenn McGrath has been told to do after practice, like going out for running and swimming when everyone else is relaxing, suggests he is still in contention for a place in the playing XI.
‘The Pigeon’ spoke to HT after one of those swimming sessions. Excerpts:
How does it feel to see bowlers playing a bigger role at this year’s IPL?
It’s good to see that, no doubt. There is something in the wickets for both, the fast bowlers and spinners…they are not flat batting tracks. Last year, 165 was a par score. This year we have seen 140 get defended while 160 has rarely been chased. It’s good to see bowlers getting more respect and good to know that the team with the best attack can win matches.
How differently does a bowler approach T20?
You’ve got to be on the spot from the first ball. You have to read the batsman’s mind and decide when to slip in a short one or when to bowl fuller length. You’re always in with a chance to get a wicket if you bowl two dot balls in a row because the batsman might try something radical on the next ball. More than using bowling skills, you have to outthink the batsman and mix things up. You have to reset your plans after every two-three balls. In other formats, the gap is longer.
Which bowlers have impressed you in IPL II?
Quite a few have been successful and they are different from each other.
Yusuf Abdulla has used swing to take wickets. His economy rate hasn’t been great but a captain wouldn’t mind that as long as the bowler is getting him wickets. Dirk Nannes has hit the deck hard and at a good pace. Anil Kumble has used his experience to great effect. He has shown that as long as your thought process is right and the pitch isn’t absolutely flat, you have a chance in T20.
Lasith Malinga has shown that a genuine quick can be useful in any form of the game. He has unsettled the batsmen with his pace. He can be deadly if he uses the crease more effectively and mixes his deliveries.
How does it feel to be in the IPL?
It’s very different and I am enjoying it. Unlike in my playing days, I can have longer chats with players like Daniel Vettori or A.B. de Villiers. Earlier, at best we could have had a beer after the game. Now we can talk for longer periods.
It’s good because it gives them a chance to see that I’m not as nasty a man as they thought me to be.