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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Cricket Columns

Two to tango: MI prosper with the masters of swing
Anil Kumble
May 10, 2013
First Published: 23:48 IST(10/5/2013)
Last Updated: 09:31 IST(11/5/2013)

The two frontline bowlers in the Mumbai Indians set-up complement each other well. Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga are completely different bowlers who rely on totally different skill-sets.

But they are wonderful asset to have, as they have proved over and over again. Mitch is the kind of bowler who relies heavily on swing. He has given us vital early breakthroughs.

An express left-arm bowler, he is gifted with the ability to bring the ball into the right-hander and take it away from the left-hander. When he hits the right areas as he has done for the most part of this campaign, he is a real handful, always a threat because he fuses pace and swing well.

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Lasith is just the opposite. He prefers reverse swing to conventional swing. At the same time, he has the ability to bowl the slow and quick yorkers with both new and old ball. He also possesses slower deliveries so well disguised that he has foxed some of the best batsmen. This year, he has also used the bouncer a lot more, which makes him very unpredictable at the death.

It’s amazing to see the way Lasith practices. He puts two shoes on the popping crease at the batsman’s end and tries to hit them as he works on his yorkers.

It’s not easy for the fast bowlers to come to practice every session, but Mitch and Lasith are invariably there. They may not bowl a lot during practice, maybe 2-3 overs at the most, but work on specific deliveries.

The hectic schedule can take a toll. It’s important to ensure that you are physically fit and mentally fresh for the actual game-time challenges, so a lot more time is spent in the gym trying to recoup rather than training hard.

HAWKEYE / CHIVACH SPORTS

The writer is the chief mentor of MI


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