When the going gets tough, get tough & tougher
There is an adjustment factor involved in the shift to international cricket and India’s top players, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, have the wherewithal to make that adjustment. Anil Kumble writes.india Updated: May 11, 2010 02:29 IST
There is an adjustment factor involved in the shift to international cricket and India’s top players, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, have the wherewithal to make that adjustment. There will be added pressure, responsibility and you have to be at the top of your game.
Mentally, you have to change the way you play. Look at it this way. When you’re playing an IPL game, you’ll face a Shane Watson and, foreign spots permitting, maybe a Shaun Tait. You’re not going to have a full Australian attack in your face — Dirk Nannes or Mitchell Johnson bowling in tandem, or a Doug Bollinger breathing fire in the wings.
This brings me to a vital question: We choose our bowlers according to the conditions, primarily the pitch; so why don’t India, if they have a such a critical problem against short stuff, pick the batsmen who are good against short-pitched bowling?
Unfortunately, batsmen, as we all know, are expected to adjust to any surface and any kind of condition. That being the case, India will have to snap out of denial mode. It's not just enough for the captain to admit there’s a problem, it’s up to the team to figure out a solution.
There's another point I think was pertinent, even in hindsight. If you wanted to go with your spin option at the forefront, you should have gone with a frontline spinner, someone like Piyush Chawla. If you wanted pace, then Vinay Kumar was the option.
But we also seem to be unsure of what to do in the bowling department, even though we’re rattled at the thought of chin music. India need to go with specialist bowlers, at least four, there's no question of that. And just like you expect your specialist batsmen to get runs, you have to expect the regular bowlers to deliver. India are going with three full-time bowlers and then part-timers. It’s a dangerous gamble.
I'm also not sure why our pacers let the West Indies off without bowling a bouncer across the eight overs they sent down. Bouncers hurt all batsmen, not just Indians. Afghanistan were barraged by bouncers, but not Australia, South Africa or the West Indies.
Now, for a final happy thought. India still have a chance of making the semis if they beat Sri Lanka and hope the Aussies decimate the Windies. What will make them happy is that they will go back to a more comfortable ground --- St Lucia's flatter surface suits them better. The problem is that when India's playing well, the pitch is not the talking point. But when they're not, the batsmen's heads seem to be filled with thoughts of devils in the wicket. They need to relax and remember that in T20, just like in Tests, you need a solid foundation & partnerships.