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Caught on the wrong foot

It is a lesson Praveen Kumar won't forget easily. On his Test debut, he had triggered a West Indies batting collapse and was troubling the batsmen with his swing bowling when he was banished from bowling in the innings for running on to the pitch for the third time. N Ananthanarayanan reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 23, 2011 02:52 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

It is a lesson Praveen Kumar won't forget easily. On his Test debut, he had triggered a West Indies batting collapse and was troubling the batsmen with his swing bowling when he was banished from bowling in the innings for running on to the pitch for the third time.

Having captured three wickets in eight deliveries conceding no run going into the lunch interval, he was given his second warning in the first over after the break. But the 24-year-old was not careful and umpire Daryl Harper adjudged he had run onto the danger zone for a third time off the last ball of the fifth over into the afternoon session.

Kumar bowls from very close to the stumps to maximise the effectiveness of his swing bowling. He admitted that he should have been careful. "I got a bit too involved and didn't realise I had stepped on the wicket again. The good thing is this has happened at the start of the series so I can be careful from now on," he said after the second day's play in the first Test at the Sabina Park on Tuesday.

Indian pacers have had this tendency to run onto the pitch. Left-armers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra sometimes struggle to control their follow through, running straight instead of moving away.https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/230611/23_06_pg18a.jpg

But it did not prove costly for India as Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra wrapped up the innings.

Until then Praveen showed it is not necessary that pace should always be in the heart of a keen contest. Sometimes the heart in the paceman will do just as well.

Keeping it simple
Praveen Kumar is not one who worries about his limitations. He simply goes out and tries to get the job done and that grit is often what captains look for. Throw the ball to him and he can bowl all day, like he has shown at the domestic level.

An integral part of India's limited overs set up, an elbow injury ruled the Uttar Pradesh paceman out of the World Cup. Skipper MS Dhoni's disappointment at losing him was evident during that campaign with injury reducing Nehra's effectiveness and S Sreesanth's temperament and consistency failing to match his pace.

Asked to stay back after the limited overs leg as an injury replacement, Kumar made his debut at the Sabina Park only because Munaf Patel broke down with injury.

There have been bowlers like Madan Lal who have not had much pace but have produced lion-hearted efforts for India with bat and ball. Kumar played a crucial innings in the third ODI to help seal the series.https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/230611/23_06_pg18b.jpg

Given the new ball ahead of Sharma, he had West Indies batsmen guessing with reverse swing. Dhoni had a long but unsuccessful chat with the umpire after the ban.

"I felt good as the ball was swinging. It didn't feel like my first Test," Praveen said. "I look to bowl a good line and length, and the ball should swing," said Kumar. There were questions whether he would cope with the demands of Test cricket. He may have to step aside when Zaheer and Sreesanth are fit, but until then the captain's faith will keep him going.