Bowlers hold their own in shortest format
By N Jagannath Das | ENS - HYDERABAD
09th October 2012 10:20 AM
The bowlers had the last laugh in the just concluded World T20 where the Darren Sammy-led West Indies team emerged victorious. When T20 was introduced, many pundits predicted that it would be a batsman-oriented game. But that concept has been changing with the bowlers becoming smarter and sharper. In Sri Lanka, thanks to the low and slow tracks, the batsmen had to work overtime to overcome the bowlers’ domination. It needed a Chris Gayle’s or Marlon Samuels’ innings (semifinals and final) to dominate the bowling. The teams were dismissed in scores between 140-160 on an average. West Indies was the only team to cross the 200-mark in the semifinals against Australia.
In the top 10 bowlers’ list, carrom-specialist bowler Ajantha Mendis (15 wickets) bamboozled the batsmen with his variation. So was Sunil Narine (9 wickets). Former Test left-arm spinner SL Venkatapathy Raju feels that length was crucial in the bowlers’ armoury.
“Mendis and Narine bowled a beautiful length. The batsmen could not get to the delivery and were often caught on the wrong foot and most of the time batsmen could not read them properly with the delivery either turning away or coming in. They strangled the batsmen and produced wicket-taking deliveries. Sometimes, the batsmen fell to pressure,” said Raju.
According to Raju, Mendis and Narine were exceptional. “They don’t have the traditional action and sometimes it confuses the batsmen. The slow wickets, too, helped their cause. It will be interesting to see how they bowl on the seamer-friendly wickets,” pointed out Raju.
As Mendis and Narine were the bowling heroes, experienced spinners like Saeed Ajmal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Brad Hogg, Graeme Swann had a mixed tournament. Though Ajmal bowled a tight line, he could not be as effective as Mendis and Narine.
Raju said West Indies have realised pace was not the only option to conquer the world. “If the 1979 Clive Lloyd team was all about pace of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Colin Croft, this Windies team had only one pace bowler in Ravi Rampaul.”
“The rest of the attack comprised slow medium pacemen in Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard, spinners Samuel Badree (leggie), Samuels (off-break). Times are changing surely,’’ said Raju.
Debasis Mohanty, former Indian pace bowler, said it was not all about bowling fast in the World T20. “The pace bowlers who bowled back of the length were successful. Shane Watson’s slow bouncers were wicket-taking deliveries. Lakshmipathy Balaji was the other bowler to surprise batsmen with his slow bouncers. Fast bowlers also bowled effective slow cutters to contain and take wickets,’’ reflected Mohanty.
Although, six pace bowlers were in the top list, it was the spinners who had match-winning spells. “In Sri Lanka, the spinners varied the pace and most of the time they bowled a touch slower forcing the batsman to reach for the delivery,’’ said Mohanty.
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