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Time to take bouncer out of cold storage

india Updated: May 16, 2013 00:36 IST
Javagal Srinath

There have been spectacular batting displays in the league but to me the stand-out innings has to be Kieron Pollard’s assault against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai. It was a knock that was played under great pressure, with Mumbai Indians needing 16 an over in the last four overs, and needing the two points to stay in contention for the play-offs. Mumbai are through with Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals and they can thank Pollard for making sure there are no last-minute palpitations.

I was awestruck by the regularity with which Pollard kept depositing the ball over the boundary.

The impact
Players like Pollard are bought for a lot of money merely because of the impact they can make. Given the nature of Pollard’s batsmanship, he will not be consistent or regularly destructive. Maybe during a season, he will play two or three defining innings, but these invariably come at crunch times.

As a bowler, I couldn’t but flinch at the ferocity of his stroke-play. But it also set me thinking. What would I have done? For some strange reason, the bouncer seems to be rapidly going out of fashion in T20 cricket.

Lasith Malinga has used it judiciously, but otherwise, it’s a weapon that has been put in cold storage. It is becoming increasingly difficult to bowl yorkers at the death, especially due to dew and the wet ball.

Dew also makes slower balls a little more ineffective, and length bowling has to be a strict no-no when batsmen are looking to go on the attack. So, what does a fast bowler do? Go for the bouncer, I say. Not every delivery, but as a surprise weapon which can fetch wickets from time to time. It will also curb the rate of scoring if bowled correctly.

Use of short ball
I can state with certainty that no batsman likes to play the short ball. The bouncer is effective in that it can be a wicket-taking dot ball, a dot ball, or can cut out the boundaries. I am not advocating bowling short and hoping for the best. All I am suggesting is using the short ball more often, with more direction and control. It will take a lot of practice, but then no one said bowling was an easy vocation in T20 cricket!

The writer is a former
India pacer