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Ntini to keep batsmen guessing

South African speedster Makhaya Ntini has added a "few new tricks" to his armoury and is now keen to test the Indian batting.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2003 14:46 IST

Having realised that speed alone will not fetch him wickets, South African speedster Makhaya Ntini has added a "few new tricks" to his armoury and is now keen to test the famed Indian batsmen in the next match of the TVS Cup triangular series.

Nitni, one of the frontline bowlers in a rather inexperienced South African attack after a number of senior players were removed following the World Cup debacle, said he had worked very hard on his bowling in recent times and was ready to shoulder the responsibility of being the main wicket taker.

"I have realised bowling fast alone will not get you the wickets in international cricket. You need to have the variety and need to keep the batsman guessing," he said.

The 28-year-old, who has seen the highs and lows as an international cricketer, said most bowlers who depended only on speed were now trying to bring more variety to be successful at the highest level.

"I have a different style and try to bowl within my limitations. I don't try to go for too much pace like Shoaib Akhtar does. But then he bowls with a different rhythm and that suits him. You have to be comfortable with whatever you do," Ntini said.

Admitting that hurrying through his overs was part of his strategy, Ntini said his intention was to give the batsman very little time to think about the next ball.

"I to do it to make sure that the batsman gets no time to prepare mentally. He may be planning to play the shot one way but ends up doing it in a different way. By the time he thinks about it, I am already ready to deliver the next ball," he said.

Ntini rates Australian Test captain Steve Waugh as the hardest to bowl at in Test cricket and considers Adam Gilchrist as the most destructive batsman in the shorter version.

"What can you say about Steve (Waugh). He is a class batsman and very experienced too. So it's always a challenge for a bowler like me to bowl to him. He loves to play the ball on the back foot," he said.

"In one dayers, there is only one player whom I fear and that's (Adam) Gilchrist. It does not matter where you bowl to him, he's always coming at you. No bowler can afford to make mistakes against him."

Ntini said he was never interested in becoming a fast bowler as a kid and took up the profession only after some people told him that he could bowl really fast.

"While representing my school, some people noticed my action and said you'll be a good fast bowler in future. That sort of encouraged me".

Describing Malcolm Marshall as his "idol" while growing up, Ntini admitted his action had been modelled on the great West Indian fast bowler.

"It was Richard Pybus (former Pakistan coach) who changed my bowling action. He was working at Border at that time. I was originally more side on," he said.

Ntini, who was one of the more consistent bowlers in the recent World Cup, said the team's early exit from the mega event was a big shock as "we were all very keen to do well and win the Cup".

"But all that is behind us now. We have to look ahead. We are now in a transition phase and we all have to work very hard to be a force in international cricket again," he said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2003 14:36 IST