Ian Bradshaw has given a good account of himself in what is his first visit to India. He returned with miserly spells against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in the preliminary stage before missing the low-scoring game against Sri Lanka last Saturday.
The West Indies left-arm medium-pacer’s mantra is sticking to the basics and applying the pressure on batsmen.
A late entrant to international stage, the 32-year-old from Barbados said that the pitches in India are still good for batting, despite the two back-to-back low-scoring games in the Champions Trophy -- 80 by his team against Sri Lanka on Saturday and 126 all out against England in Jaipur the next day.
“India is known for good batting tracks,” Bradshaw said on Monday after his team’s practice session. “Nothing much has changed. The two low scores do not mean that the tracks are bad in India. We bowlers have to maintain line and length as much as possible and try and put the batters under pressure.”
Bradshaw pointed out that life was difficult for speedsters on Indian surfaces. “Sometimes, you find the pitches are slower than others. The pitches are good tracks for batting and bowlers have to work very hard to make sure they get something out of the wicket,” he said.
The match-winner with the bat in the 2004 Champions Trophy final said he and his team were looking forward to the contest against Australia on Wednesday, their first Group ‘A’ clash of the champions Trophy. “We played against them last month (in DLF Cup, Malaysia).
There were areas when we felt we had some sort of dominance over them. Australia are a champion team and will always fight back. We must make sure that we go into this game and execute our plans as well as possible. We believe we have the team not only to win the match against Australia but also top our group and progress into the semifinal.”
With the humiliating loss to Sri Lanka out of their minds, West Indies enter the new phase like they do with a new tournament. “It was the preliminary stage and now we are into the second round.
We realise that to win the tourney and to be recognised as a champ, we must do well against all the top teams. Australia are number one. If we do as well as we expect to do against Australia, that will boost our confidence for the rest of the tournament.”
On his preparations before landing in India, Bradshaw said: “I came to India as fit as possible. Obviously, the heat conditions will take a toll. So I tried to ensure I was physically fit to combat those conditions first and foremost.
On the types of wickets you bowl on, you try and maintain the basic principles of a decent line and length, assess the surface as quickly as possible and be as consistent as you can.”
Bradshaw, who maintains a composed head, said that fast bowlers should be encouraged to go flat out in Indian conditions. “Each and every bowler is different. There are bowlers who are express bowlers.
They should be encouraged to do that because that’s what makes them effective. Each bowler has his own individual style and each one has to understand his game so that he can go out to the park and execute what he wants to do.”
When he faces the top teams in the next round, Bradshaw will hopefully be on the park and execute what he wants to do - stick to the basics and put batsmen under pressure.