T20 WC: Bowl full length deliveries, Balaji advises Team India

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 08, 2024 IST

Lakshmipathy Balaji

New York, June 8: Remember Lakshmipathy Balaji? The low profile, former India pacer, who with swings, bounce and accuracy troubled formidable batters during his time.

Even after retirement, Balaji continues to impress as a bowling coach in the Indian Premier League. He is still fit and willing to help India, when it comes to facing arch rivals Pakistan.

Balaji always dazzled against Pakistan. Asked what should be the ideal length against Pakistan on the tricky New York pitch Sunday, Balaji advised the fast-bowling group to stick to bowling fuller lengths as it would help them in being attacking and picking wickets during their high-octane clash.

Earlier, in their opening match of Men’s T20 World Cup against Ireland, India’s fast-bowlers made merry by picking eight scalps each in a comfortable eight-wicket win. While Hardik Pandya took 3-27, Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh picked two wickets each to bowl out Ireland for just 96.

Up next for India is the challenge from a unpredictable Pakistan side, who come into the clash at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on the back of a surprise defeat to co-hosts USA at Dallas.

“I think pacers have been tremendous. They play all three formats except Arshdeep and they've been playing red-ball cricket as well as white-ball cricket. Here you need to stick to the basics. So it becomes very important, and that's what they did in the previous game against Ireland. That is why the wickets column kept coming, and so that is the only thing which they're going to follow.”

“If the wicket has a variation, why you need to do or add any variation? You have to accept that kind of limitation where you hold within yourself. At the same time, it is better to be in fuller in length on these kinds of wickets, where you will be a little bit attacking and get the purchase as well of taking wickets.”

“So yes, bowlers have been phenomenal in the last two games which happened here and definitely they will continue with that kind of a momentum,” said Balaji while replying to a query from IANS at a special Star Sports Press Room organised in New York.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated clash, the nature of pitch is a huge talking point, especially with the International Cricket Council (ICC) saying it is working hard to improve the quality of pitches at New York, which have been very hard for stroke play, resulting in low-scoring games.

Harbhajan Singh, the former India off-spinner, thinks players need to adapt themselves as per the tough conditions in New York and opined whoever gets the basics right on Sunday would win the crucial Group A match.

 “We have been talking a lot about the pitch due to the extra bounce bowlers have received here. On various occasions, we have toured countries where there has been extra bounce, apart from a lot of swing and spin. But you have to adapt to those conditions as well and here, the conditions have been difficult for the batters, which is why many people are finding it hard to digest that there haven’t been many runs scored off the bats so far.”

 “But this sport is not just about the bat. If you take the ball out of the game, then the fun is over. For many years, we have seen the bats dominating. But suddenly, if the batters have to work a little extra harder here, its leading to runs being scored below 100, which we're not used to.”

 “There are lots of habits, of which we can’t get rid of and so I feel whatever is happening here is right. Cricket reaching in America is a big sign and the same conditions here can be found in Australia, while it seams excessively in England and sometimes in India, the matches end in just two and a half days.”

 “So I think the team that plays better in given conditions wins the tournament. Irrespective of the format you're playing, the basics remain the same. Whoever plays basics right and plays better cricket, that side will win the match,” he concluded. 

Well, Balaji, Harbhajan or any former player may share their experience and expertise with Team India players before a crucial match like Indo-Pak clash, but finally it would be up to the players on the field, to execute their plans properly and hold nerves to win the high octane battle. (With IANS support)

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