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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014
World T20: India make do with the old methods
Nilankur Das , Hindustan Times
Fatullah, March 17, 2014
First Published: 01:03 IST(17/3/2014)
Last Updated: 02:55 IST(17/3/2014)

The dummy batsman that stood in the main wicket at the Khan Shaheb Osmani Stadium was placed after a lot of fuss. It had to be at the right spot for bowlers to come and bowl at it so that they can take something away from the practice.

Well, the India bowlers bowled their hearts out at live batsmen at the nets near the ropes and did not bother to venture to the middle of the park.

About an hour into the training session, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin walked over to the main square and Yuvraj began to take throw downs standing in front of the red and black dummy.

A few balls later, two of them lifted the dummy up and moved it out of the pitch and sometime later a host of other batsmen flocked in after their batting stints to take throw downs in the centre of the park.

In spotlight
Coach Duncan Fletcher was the man shutterbugs followed.

He landed here on Saturday after a meeting with the Board president N Srinivasan where the debacles in South Africa and New Zealand were discussed. Following the meeting, the Board had strongly voiced support for the Zimbabwean after former India cricketers held him solely responsible for the team's long list of reversals.

On Sunday, a day before India play their first warm-up match of the World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka at Mirpur, Fletcher went about doing exactly what he always did at the nets.

He watched each batsman closely and after that had one-on-one sessions with them, discussing foot and head positions while playing shots.

There was no apparent session with the bowlers, neither was Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Varun Aaron seen to do anything different. The bowlers ran in and bowled to imaginary field placements like they always did. The dummy was the sole new entrant.

Real value
The India media manager informed that the mannequin has been part of India's training equipment since the tour of South Africa.

"It's for the bowlers if they want to. They can try out things, bouncers, yorkers etc without needing a batsman," Dr RN Baba said. "It's been brought from Australia and is made of a soft material somewhat like rubber."

But the point is the rather tall dummy pretty much committed on the front foot is yet to be part of Indian bowlers' training routine. India's bowling coach Joe Dawes must have thought of something before the equipment was procured.

Whatever that was, it hasn't quite caught on with the bowlers. It's still cones and live batsmen for them.

Dawes under pressure
Australian Dawes is also under intense pressure to hold on to his job as the bowling unit, pace bowlers in particular, struggled for consistency even on bouncy tracks in South Africa and New Zealand.

It will be another major test for India's bowlers in this tournament.

And unlike in the case of football where dummy walls are used for freekicks and the height of the mannequin is taking into account the average height to which the wall can jump and so it gives the shooter a rough estimate of where to curl or dip the ball from, the batsman's dummy provides no such estimate.

So a well-practised yorker could well become a juicy full toss in the middle depending on the initial movement of the batsman.


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